Monthly Archives: February 2009



By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — Filipino-Canadians here hailed the Feb. 19 first foreign visit of US President Barack Obama in Ottawa saying “it created a sense of buoyancy, an uplifting of mood, and that’s always good in terms of economy.”
Celestino Miranda, whose father in Aklan, Philippines is among the beneficiary of the Filipino veterans equity law in the stimulus bill recently signed into law by Mr. Obama, said the President’s visit in Canada is expected to spur employment opportunities because of the reopening of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which will benefit both the United States and Canada.
Miranda, a financial analyst, said since both countries are each other’s “best customers”, both countries “build things together and some imports can cross the border many times during the production process.”
“Almost one quarter of the merchandise trade is in autos, trucks and parts and many Filipinos who lost their jobs last year due to recession are expected to rebound this year,” Miranda said.
Cristobal Palacios, an engineer, meanwhile, said Canada is the largest export market for 36 of the 50 states. More than $1 million a minute in business crossed the border, he said.
Palacios said many Filipino skilled workers will be benefited as jobs will return once the NAFTA will reopen.
Filipinos here also credited Obama now that the “infamous” Rescission Act of 1946 may has been rescinded with the passing of the stimulus bill that will benefit the Filipino veterans equity provision.
There were approximately 430,000 Filipino WW II veterans who were slated to receive US military benefits (health care, G.I. Bill of Rights, pension, vocational rehabilitation etc) when this bill removing those benefits was approved by the US Congress on February 18, 1946, political analyst Rodel Rodis reported earlier.
He said before signing the bill into law, President Harry Truman declared that “the passage and approval of this legislation does not release the US from its moral obligation to provide for the heroic Philippine veterans who sacrificed so much for the common cause during the war.”
In a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Obama acknowledged that he has said NAFTA does too little to protect U.S. workers and the environment. Canada, the United State’s largest trading partner, is leery of changes to the deal.
Robust trade helps both nations, Obama said. Noting that NAFTA has side agreements on labor and the environment, he added: “If those side agreements mean anything, then they might as well be incorporated into the main body of the agreements so that they can be effectively enforced.”
He said he hopes there eventually will be a way to do so “that is not disruptive to the extraordinarily important trade relationships” between the two nations.
Both leaders said that as economies around the world face challenges, it’s important for the U.S. and others to resist calls for protectionism.


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Posted by on February 20, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!



By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK — He simply is the greatest.
Twenty eight years after his farewell bout in the square jungle, Muhammad Ali continues to inspire his fans both in and outside the world of prizefighting.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has adjudged him as this year’s winner of the President’s Award and will receive the honor in Los Angeles, California during the NAACP Image Award on Feb. 12.
In giving him the award, the civil-rights group recognizes Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, for his “special achievement and distinguished public service.”
The group says Ali’s accomplishments in the boxing ring are matched by his record of social activism and humanitarian efforts. The announcement was made February 5.
Halle Berry and screenwriter- actor Tyler Perry are set to host the 40th annual awards show, which will air on Fox TV. The ceremony falls on the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and kicks off the group’s yearlong centennial celebration.
Ali had 56 wins with 37 knockouts against five losses in a professional career that was interrupted by the stripping of his boxing license by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and his world heavyweight title after he refused to serve the United States Army during the Vietnam War.
In defending his decision not to be inducted into the U.S. Army, Ali publicly considered himself as “conscientious objector” and stated that “War is against the teachings of the Holy Qu’ran. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”
The heavyweight celebrity also famously said in 1966: “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong … They never called me nigger.”
Appearing for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, on that same day, the NYSAC suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit.
At the trial two months later, the jury, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, found Ali guilty. After a court of appeals upheld the conviction, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, people turned against the war, and support for Ali grew. Ali financially supported himself by visiting many college universities to give speeches across the country. On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction for refusing induction by unanimous decision.
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!



“If 11 million Filipinos abroad will create nine homes each, there will be no poor in the Philippines.”
 By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — Ilonggos in the Philippines thought they have lost a worthy business leader when low-key enterpreneur Alfredo “Pidoy” Pacis and his family migrated here 12 years ago.
They did not. In fact, Pidoy’s legacy will stay and live forever in Pototan, Iloilo where he, together with Couples For Christ, town officials, and Saladmasters International recently awarded in a ceremony 10 of the expected 100 beneficiaries of the Gawad Kalinga (GK), a church-based project that will give homes to the homeless.
The project, which aims to transform poverty stricken areas in the country with goal of building 700,000 homes in seven years (2003-2010), sits in an area of the seven-hectare agro industrial zone in Brgy. Lumbo, Pototan, a second class municipality 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City.
During the lunching of the project in August 2008, Pidoy brought Keith Peterson, president of the Saladmaster International, who assisted Mayor Pablo Perez, municipal officials, and Couples For Christ chapter coordinator Pat Penaflorida in the bayanihan-type building of homes.


“We wish to transform the area from ordinary to model village,” declared Pacis, who is director of Filipino Business Development based in Toronto, Ontario. “Our vision is to provide livelihood to the poor and a caretaker group will be the recipient of various projects that we are planning to provide there such as the multi-purpose hall where they can use to congregate.”

Pidoy, who teams up with wife Carmela “Ting” in their AC Tristar company that deals with Saladmasters products in Ontario, plans to make the project as his “legacy program when I retire someday.”
They have three children–Francis Clyde, 26, who serves as the company administrative coordinator and consultant; Kim Christian, 21; and Ron Frederick, 13.
The family company, which trains, educates people and offers motivation through books, videos, and testimonies has netted several Gold World Champion awards as Saladmasters senior dealer in North America.
Before the town fiesta on May 8, Pidoy is thinking of launching a “Balikbayan GK Day” which will help inspire successful Filipinos living abroad to spearhead the campaign of helping the poor through GK.

“Let us bring back dignity to the poor; educate them and instill values that will ignite changes in community, changes in their attitude and behavior; a silent revolution change,” Pidoy chortled.

Pidoy said five percent of the11 Filipino diaspora or those living abroad are wealthy “and there is a calling from the Lord for this 11 million Filipinos to go abroad and help those who are poor in the Philippines.”

As the number two exporter of human labor all over the world, Pidoy said “we have the ability and capacity to help and build a community; opportunity can be committed if there is a well.”

Pidoy believes that GK project “is a transcending point which goes beyond the building of community; this is patriotism outside the Philippines.”

Pidoy said in time of economic crisis, “Filipinos need new challenge and inspiration. We Filipinos are known to be resilient and we need to create an ability to gather as one group to become cohesive.”
“Real home,” according to Pidoy “is creating homes for those who have less.”
If 11 million Filipinos abroad will create nine homes each, there will be no poor in the Philippines, Pidoy said.
Pidoy, whose mother Gloria Penafiel served as Pototan councilor for 20 years, exhorts business leaders and the rich to “rally in the transcending cause beyond personal and group interest.”
He believes that the wealthy in Iloilo and other places in the Philippines can also come up with their own efforts and see the value in GK cause.”

Pidoy urges his countrymen to “perform with passion and purpose.”
“Just give what your heart dictates, give without any condition; you don’t need to be rich to give. We are not here as coincidences; we have a calling,” Pidoy concluded.
“Let’s have a radical change,” Pidoy stressed. “Filipinos abroad are ready to embrace this change. We need change and hope for both the poor and the donors.”




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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!



By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — The global economic recession has not spared some Filipinos who have migrated both in the United States and North America here and many of them are confused and don’t know what to do.
This was the consensus arrived at in a meeting recently among Philippine Consul General Alejandro Mosquera, Philippine Press Club of Ontario president Tenny Soriano, and Filipino Business Development director Alfredo “Pidoy” Pacis here.
The three agreed to spearhead a conference soon among sectors in the Filipino-Canadian community affected by the economic meltdown.
“We will gather them all and explain to them what is happening in the economy in the US and North America and get their suggestions,” Mosquera said. “There is a need for us to unite and help find a solution to the problem so that they can prepare for whatever repercussions in the future. They must understand what is going on.”
Pacis, for his part, suggested that gathering all sectors in the Filipino-Canadian community and briefing them on the real economic situation “is one way of helping them survive the crisis.”
Pacis said participants should be asked to share their expertise and to formulate plans and programs on how to cushion the impact of the crisis.
“They should be taught about survival tips and how to deal with the situation,” Pacis said. “Let us set aside our pride by minimizing our expenses and tightening our belts. Since everyone is affected, we should not mind what other people are saying about us.
Pacis added that “the most important is liquidity. Those who have liquids (cash) will survive.”
“Instead of whining and complaining and backstabbing, Filipinos in the US and Canada should participate on how to solve the economic problem; they should come in front and not in the back,” explained Pacis.
Pacis urged businessmen not to think of how to profit big at this most difficult time in order to retain their good managers.
“They should assist their people and maintain them so they can pay their bills, too, and, thus, survive the crisis along with them,” Pacis said. “In any business, you have to invest with your people because they also have their bills to pay.”
Soriano, who is a newspaperman, admitted that advertising revenues among community newspapers will also be affected as businesses start to feel the effects of the economic crunch.
Canada had shed 34,400 jobs –70,700 full-time gains–and the employment rate jumped three-tenths of a point to 6.6 percent.
According to Statistics Canada, more worrying for Canadians was the large decrease in full-time employment, and in the private sector, where 59,400 jobs were lost.
The shrinkage was reportedly partially offset by a gain of 36,200 in part-time work and a gain of 20,500 in government hiring.
Canada reportedly managed to eke out a gain of 98,000 jobs, far fewer than the 358,000 gained in 2007 and all in part-time work.
“But the December (2008) report presents a picture of an economy that had been coasting before hitting the wall in the latter part of the year, with manufacturing, sales and construction activity taking a plunge in the face of the spiraling financial crisis,” Statistics Canada reported.
From the record low 5.8 percent in early 2008, the unemployment rate reportedly climbed 0.8 percentage points by the end of the year, with most of the increase occurring in the last quarter.
The latest sector to be hit by the economic tsunami, it added, was construction, which had previously seemed impervious to the recession. In December, the construction industry lost 44,000 jobs as housing starts dipped to the lowest level in seven years the previous month, it was reported.
Other industries to lose jobs in December included manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, mining and oil.
Offsetting the losses were reportedly gains in transportation and warehousing, up 23,000, health care, and social assistance and public administration.
With the price of oil tumbling, Alberta’s economy, meanwhile, also showed signs of slowing and actually recorded the sharpest employment decline of any province with 16,000 fewer jobs, all full-time. That pushed the jobless rate in the province up 0.7 precentage points to 4.1 percent.
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!



By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — “I missed my family. I want to come home.”
Thus was the sad remark made by 36-year-old Lennilyn (not her real name), who now lives in York Mills in north Toronto with her new Canadian husband and three children (aged 6, 4 and 2 years old).
Lennilyn was a “delegate” from the Philippines in the 17th World Youth Day held here from July 23 to July 28, 2002. She was then 29 years old and second year management student in a university in Iloilo which reportedly helped secure her “credentials” to earn the trip.
She was one of the more than 5,000 youths from the Philippine accredited by a Catholic institution to be part of the “celebration of faith” started by Pope John Paul II held on an international level every two to three years
After the event, which reportedly brought young people together, allowing them to express their traditions, cultures, languages and experience of the world, Lennilyn and an estimated 50 to 80 other delegates from the Philippines reportedly did not come back.
“We became TNT (tago ng tago),” she mused with a slight guffaw.
Lennilyn said it was her childhood obssession to go to Canada “and I thought the world youth day was my chance to fulfill my dream.” With the help of her aunt (who reportedly has connections with some personnel in the university that assisted her) Lennilyn became an “official” delegate.
Lennilyn, who was married in Iloilo with two children, admitted there were more qualified delegates from her city but they didn’t have enough money to finance the expensive trip.
Lennilyn’s marriage to her 54-year-old Canadian husband meant that she had severed her relationship with her Filipino husband whom she described as “irresponsible” and “womanizer.”
“Good riddance,” she quipped, referring to her Filipino husband who reportedly impregnated Lennilyn’s classmate when Lennilyn was still in the Philippines.
Seven years after running away to go TNT, Lennilyn said she missed her two children now in the care of her mother, a sidewalk vendor in a public market in Iloilo.
“They know that I am now living here in Canada but they have no idea who and why they have three sisters here whom they haven’t met. It’s difficult to explain but I know that someday, they will understand,” she said.
Lennilyn refused to divulge her exact address and new family name as well as the business of her new family here. She plans to come home someday “and surprise my children. If possible, I want to bring my two children here so we can live together as one family.”
 As for her Filipino husband, “never mind him,” she hissed. “I am now happy with (name of her new husband) and I did not regret my decision to go TNT and to have a new husband. I am happy and I’m very much satisified with our small business. But sometimes, I missed my country, I missed my family, especially my two children. In fact, I want to come home.”
It was also Pope John Paul II’s last World Youth day. As always, it was very well attended, with an estimated 400,000-500, 000 youths from all over the world participating in the week-long festival. Although WYD is designed for Catholics, it attracts sizable numbers of youths from other faiths and denominations.
As the event is ultimately an expression of faith, and a critical expression of faith is through service to others, World Youth Day 2002 had the support of some 25,000 volunteers; and some 100,000 pilgrims themselves spent three hours each on one of 750 service projects.
The theme of the event was “You are the salt of the earth … you are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14).
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!


SPORTS: No FIFA 2010 stint for Canada


 “The Filipinos in general are illiterate when it comes to soccer. The sports IQ is low and limited to basketball. Compared to soccer, basketball is inferior.”

 By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — Soccer fans here continued to mourn Canada’s elimination from the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying and considered the setback to be more painful than its failed bid to host the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
To add insult, Canada was badly clobbered by Jamaica, 0-3 in its farewell match at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on Nov. 19, 2008 and suffered a double whammy before being given the door.
According to Canwest News Service, the Canadians went winless in the third round and finished last in Group Two with an 0-4-2 record.
The top two teams in each of the three CONCACAF groups advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Honduras (4-2-0) claimed first place with 12 points, while Mexico and Jamaica, both 3-2-1, tied for second with 10 points, with Mexico moving on based on goal differential.
Here’s the report: “Jamaica opened the scoring Wednesday night with a goal by Luton Shelton in the 27th minute and took a 1-0 into half-time. The hosts padded their lead in the 58th minute on a penalty by Marlon King and added another marker in the 86th minute from Omar Cummings.”
There is no doubt the most exciting sports in the world is soccer. The World Cup demonstrates football madness to the hilt, according to Minyong Ordonez, a lover of The Beautiful Game and chief executive officer of Basic Advertising.
In Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, soccer generates passion, patriotism, and racial pride unmatched by any stereotyped sports event.
The Filipinos in general are illiterate when it comes to soccer. The sports IQ is low and limited to basketball. Compared to soccer, basketball is inferior.
Soccer fans are more analytical and sophisticated than basketball fans that are simple-minded, preferring boring and repetitive plays as instant gratifications.
Here are super soccer thrills, according to Ordonez, that people all over the world experience in watching a world-class soccer games.



The playing field is as huge as a track oval. The grass field is about four times bigger than a basketball court. Ten players (warriors is a better word) on each team totaling twenty can be viewed from the stand beautifully executing offensive in defensive executions.
In a display of the highest capability of the male physique, football players run like antelopes, slither like snakes and attack like leopards. At other times they pirouetee like ballet dancers.
On the huge open field you see play patterns evolve to succeed or fail-depending on the instinct and precision of individual acts.
In a World Cup soccer team, everyone is an artist whether he is a striker, a pass maker, a defender, or a goal keeper.
Every single move counts. To a soccer watcher, the details are beautiful. In a huge soccer field fans see a goal made in sequences of brilliant moves orchestrated by midfielders and strikers. The open skies and huge open field give the picture of a real battlefield. The atmosphere of a battlefield is visualized. The art of war is palpable. The battle goes on in spite of sun, rain and mud.


Soccer warriors have specialized skills that contribute to the precious winning goal. Strikers (goal makers) are deadly in the penalty area. Their killer instincts are hone in, their legs are pumping irons, their speed belongs to a 100-meter dash champ. Their feet dribble the ball with lightning-fast agility, kick a goal score in several styles of kick effects.
Midfielders are superb ball catchers and handlers. Their precision passes are marvelous at any distance, any speed. They initiate attack patterns and elude their guards.
Defenders are a special breed. They are strategic in winning a game by blunting and stopping attackers within fifty yards and penalty front area.
Defenders artfully execute some of the most cat quick reflex actions in stealing a ball from attackers. Games are won by the superior performance of defenders.
Hearts beat fast when a forward surges towards a goal guarded like a leech by a defender. The simultaneous struggle being displayed by the attacker surging towards the goal and the defender in stopping the attacker at all cost is simply heart-stopping.
In football, every player is key. The post-game analysis is total-a team effort.
The whole game is creatively and passionately played by all. No superstars. Team play rules.


Perhaps the biggest thrill in soccer is the dexterity of the human feet. Foot work. Foot dribbling. Foot ball handling. It’s amazing that in soccer, the foot is as good if not better than the hands in holding, dribbling and shooting the ball. These skills are part genius and part discipline. It comes with lots of practice. But marvelous footwork is just half of the story. The other wonder is legwork. Leg power. Leg agility. Leg endurance. A running leg. Leg excellence involves the foot, ankle, knee, the whole leg as one perfect instrument to play artistic football. The foot and leg excellence is simply an exceptional quality of world-class soccer player. Unique to watch. An object of admiration.
The use of the head is another source of constant fascination. The player’s head seems stone-hard. It is used o catch r block aerial balls. Or for butting short passes. More spectacularly it can head the ball to the goal either through a body dive or a jumping head shot. Simply astounding!


Perhaps the superiority of soccer lies in the inherent virtues of a world-class soccer player. The audience senses this. An excellent player embodies the virtues of self-discipline, bravery, endurance, and the will to win.
The low score in football means victory is hard earned. It means that great things come at the right moment, the patience is key to endure the long struggle. In spite of the two-hour battle, football fans enjoy every moment of the game. The display of individual skills from the players, the teamwork and play patterns keep viewers interest sustained throughout the game.


A team can lose and still be admired for having played magnificently. In football, excellence is in the details. And it takes struggle and discipline for a player to achieve perfection. This is obvious in the way he plays. The excellence in little details displayed by players is a source of endless enjoyment from the crowd. That’s why kids, glamour girls, yuppies, husbands, wives, farmers, construction workers, taxi drivers, food vendors, prime ministers, presidents, queens, kings, and emperors cheer lustily for their team during a World Cup series. Passion is so high, football even creates extremists called hooligans.
“We Filipinos should elevate our sports IQ from basketball to soccer,” counseled Ordonez. “In soccer there are no oversized Shaquille O’Neals who can bully a victory in a basketball game. In soccer you only have normal height players like Ronaldo and Rivaldo of Brazil, Kluse and Ballack of Germany whose unique and unexpected kick for that precious single goal is more exciting than the boring repetitions in a 50-point score of a surfeit and predictable Kobe Bryant.”
He added: “Let’s stop being basketball bores. Let’s be more sophisticated and discover the unexpected and mental pleasures of soccer.”

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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!



By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — On my way here from Cleveland, Ohio via Buffalo, New York on February 12, fog blanketed much of Canadian territories starting from Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville, reducing visibility in places to 100 meters.
Freezing rain coated roads and sidewalks with a sheen of ice that refused to melt in many areas for 48 hours, as Canadians tottered down city sidewalks in a modified penguin shuffle.
Arms stiff and legs straight, they’ve waddled in baby steps, trying, and often failing, to avoid a painful meeting of keester and concrete. From downtown Toronto, I went straight to the Philippine Consulate General on 161 Eglinton Avenue East via CTC train.
At the University Avenue, I picked up a copy of The Globe and Mail and Winnipeg writer Patrick White provided the following pieces of advice for visitors, the newcomers who often underestimate the full brunt of a Prairie winter and suffering the bruising, frost-bitten consequences:
1. Long underwear has sex appeal. It also shows intelligence. Be informed enough to have long chats about the merits of various weights and materials.
2. Memorize this: 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75V(**0.16) + 0.4275TV(**0. 16). It’s the formula for wind-chill calculations. Or, for those who don’t have advanced math degrees, just bookmark the Environment Canada website.
3. Plug in your car at night. No, you don’t have to have an electric car. Block-heaters keep parts of the engine warm overnight so that you don’t have to beg a neighbor for booster cables in the morning.
4.If you want to lose your toes, wear shoes. Otherwise, invest in some real cold-weather boots. Most retailers sell massive moon-boots that are good to no degrees. Those should do.
5. Fleece doesn’t cut a 40-below wind. Buy a down parka with an insulated hood. Nobody minds if you look like the Michelin Man.
6. Always carry a book. Inclement weather can sneak up at any time. To ward off cabin fever, wait the storm out with a good, long read. War and Peace should do.
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!