Monthly Archives: January 2012

CITIES SUMMIT 2012: ‘It’s my first time in Canada,’ says Mayor Bistek Bautista

By Alex P. Vidal


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — In his first ever trip in Canada, Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista of Quezon City, Philippines will be one of the panelists when some 40 international business and urban leaders discuss various issues particularly the business of city building during the two-day Cities Summit 2012 Feb. 1-2 at the Vancouver Convention Center West Building.
“It’s my first time in Canada and I have just signed a reaffirmation of our (Quezon City) sisterhood with New Westminster (British Columbia’s oldest and former capital city) Mayor Wayne Wright,” Bautista said in an exclusive interview Monday (January 30) night.
Bautista said he and Wright discussed the possibility of expanding their ties not only in the area of education and culture but also in technology, economic and human resources.


“Our cities have one thing in common,” Bautista pointed out. “Quezon City is the former capital of the Philippines, while New Westminster is the former capital of the British Columbia.”
Quezon City and New Westminster City signed a sisterhood pact in 1991, Bautista disclosed.
He clarified that Quezon City and Vancouver City don’t have any sisterhood agreement but he was tapped as panelist along with Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, Milo Medin, Google, Vice-President of Access Services; Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners; Courtney Pratt, chairman of Toronto Region Research Alliance; David Helliwell, CEO of Pulse Energy, among other mayors and business leaders.
The Cities Summit 2012 is hosted by Vancouver City Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vancouver Economic Commission.
Vancouver is hosting a global Summit on the pressures city regions must address as the world urbanizes at an increasingly rapid pace.


International speakers, thought leaders from both the public and corporate sectors, and participants will be engaged in discussions on the solutions urban centres and their citizens can apply to address strain on cities and their environments, while supporting responsible growth and innovation.
The world is reportedly urbanizing faster than ever. For the first time, half the planet’s population-over 3.5 billion people-lives in cities. Another two billion will join them by 2030. This great migration is set to define urban life for generations to come, said the summit description.
The Cities Summit will assemble international business and urban leaders to design the creative, practical solutions for a sustainable urban future.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized



Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


Fil-Cans condemn racist acts of Canada’s neo-Nazi group


By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance, Philippine Women Centre of BC and SIKLAB for Migrant Workers will hold a “protest of all forms of racism” on Feb. 13, 2012 at 9 a.m. in front of the Vancouver Provincial Court on 222 Main St.
The groups have condemned “the racist acts of neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour for setting a young Filipino man on fire while sleeping on a couch on Commercial Drive in 2009.”
In a statement released January 27, 2012, the three groups “hold Canada’s legal and policing system accountable for not acting fast enough to penalize and dissolve the white supremacist group. On Feb. 13, during the hearing of the men charged with burning the Filipino man, Filipino Canadians will take to the streets in protest of the racist acts.”


They lamented that “despite being the third largest minority group in Canada, Filipino youth are faced with racist systemic barriers and limited access to resources in Canada. Education obtained in the Philippines is often not recognized, pushing college kids back to high school upon arriving in Canada. There are few public services that integrate Filipinos successfully while being culturally-sensitive to the realities and struggles of migration.”
They added: “In the case children of Filipino nannies entering Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program, reunification with their families occurs 5 to 15 years after being separated.” “Depression and anxiety are prevalent in the Filipino community due to separation from family and isolation. Because of meager earnings and unrecognized qualifications by the Canadian state, poverty amongst first generation Filipinos permeates into future generations to create a legacy of poverty. As a result, Filipino youth are overrepresented in escalating high school and post-secondary drop-out rates, low-income communities, and service sector jobs.


“Racism and class oppression of people of colour still exists. Canada has and continues to be built on the backs of exploited immigrant communities. These forms of systemic racism and violence that the educational, immigration and labour systems have imposed on Filipino Canadians have marginalized Filipino communities since the 1980s, when foreign credentials became invalidated and Filipinos were streamlined into the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP).
Today, they cited that “Filipinos are reduced to ‘working horses,’ or as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said, ‘economic units.'”
“Canada’s history is muddled with racist policies such as the colonization and genocide of First Nations people, the Chinese Head Tax, the Japanese internment during WWII, the refusal of entry to Indian refugees on the Komagatu Maru ship in 1914 and the recent Sri Lankan refugees on the MV Sun Ship in the summer of 2010. Through these race-based policies, the state has effectively sowed an anti-immigrant sense into Canadians.


“Filipino communities have also faced a history of racism and violence in Canada, with the banning of Filipino youth at the Scarborough Town Center in 1993, the hate graffiti and physical violence against Filipino youth at the Vancouver Technical School in 1999, and the deaths of two young Filipino men, both sons of nannies who entered Canada under the LCP. Mao Jomar Lanot was a victim of school bullies at Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Elementary in 2003 and Jeffrey Reodica was shot to death in the back by two plain-clothed Toronto police officers in 2004. Filipino youth have been targets of police brutality and racial profiling, as they are immediately labeled as gang members.
“In 1999 following the racist dismissal of Filipino students from Van Tech, the Kalayaan Centre formed a group named ‘Filipino-Canadians Against Racism’ dedicated to exposing and opposing Canada’s racist policies, empowering the community and uniting marginalized groups towards a common goal of genuine equality and participation.


“It is both timely and urgent that we need a resurgence of activism and organizing in the community so that we are not complacent, but are proactive and not reactive to racist events.
“The blatant acts of racism committed by Blood and Honour show how systemic racism trickles down to an individual level and pervades everyday life. That the Crown charged Alistair Miller and Robert de Chazal two long years after brutalizing the young Filipino man on Commercial Drive is an act of racism and discrimination in itself.”
They “refuse the racist policies Canada maintains to oppress our community and subject them to violence! We demand full entitlement and equal rights, refusing to be Canada’s underclass! It is our human right to build our homes and root ourselves in Canadian society!
They demand an ending in “systemic racism!”
“Scrap the Live-in Caregiver Program! Status upon arrival!”
“End family separation!”
“Equal rights for all!”
“Oppose economic inequality!”
Contact info: |
Phone: 604.215.1103
FB: Ugnayan Ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada|Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance BC
Twitter: @ugnayanbc

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


‘Send to jail Lorna Tolentino’s employer’


By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — If reports were true that cancer patient Lorna Tolentino did not have any insurance and she died a pauper, authorities should investigate the matter and file proper charges against those responsible for her employment as nanny and caregiver, including her employer if evidence warrants, suggested a community leader who requested anonymity.
According to Philippine Consul General Jose Ampeso, Tolentino’s former employer has refused to cooperate with members of media and other authorities concerned and insisted Tolentino’s case is a private matter.
Due to unknown reasons, some officials of the Filipino community previously vocal and giving media interviews, have now refused to comment about Tolentino’s case.
“It seems they chickened out,” a source informed us recently. “All of a sudden, they shut and zippered their mouths at a time when the caregiver and nanny community was looking for leaders that would pick up their cudgels and bring to light the sad plight of some nannies and caregivers who are in danger of being exploited; in danger of suffering the predicament of Lorna Tolentino.”


“No comment na ako dyan (I will not comment anymore),” quipped Tomas Avendano, president of the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS), who earlier disclosed they could only give $200 to Tolentino’s family from the MHHS’s social fund.
Ampeso said it was cheaper to cremate Tolentino’s body than shipped the cadaver to her town in San Miguel, Bulacan. The cremation was pushed through in Burnaby last January 7 after Tolentino’s sister failed to arrive after her visa had been denied in Manila.
The consul general said Dr. Dan Vargas, of the Canadian Medical Mission Society (CMMS), will bring Tolentino’s ashes to the Philippines to be turned over to her family on February 3.
All caregivers and nannies working in Canada must have health insurance, according to one of the nurses who took care of the 39-year-old Tolention who died of cervical cancer last New Year after being confined in the hospital and transferred to the hospice for several months last year.
Rosemarie Alcantara, the nurse who attended to Tolentino when the patient was still confined in the surgical ward, suggested that caregivers and nannies should secure insurance if their employers can’t provide it.


“Kahit term insurance lang of let say $35 per month good for 10 years. By all means, all health workers must have proper insurance for their protection,” she said. Alcantara narrated that even Tolentino herself did not have idea she had cancer. Tolentino informed her that while she was cooking, she suddenly fell on the floor. Her boss was not around. It was when she was brought in the hospital that doctors diagnosed she had terminal cancer.

“Most of us are afraid of general check up because it could give us stress if doctors found out something was wrong with our health,” quipped Alcantara, who has been nurse in the Burnaby hospital for six years.

Alcantara said she made Tolentino laugh everytime she visited her. “That’s what she needed — a lot of smile. I knew she wouldn’t last long. She even told me, ‘ate pagnakita kita masayang masaya ako dahil pinapatawa mo ako palagi,'” recalled Alcantara. “I did not want to see her in a sad moment. As much as possible I gave her words of encouragement.”

Alcantara and her fellow nurses would always buy Tolentino Filipino foods like monggo and palabok from “Kusina Manila” restaurant “but she could not eat them all. She was always aware of her fate. God bless her soul.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


‘I have great respect for Filipino community’

By Alex P. Vidal


BILL McNULTY (right) and APV

RICHMOND, British Columbia — No public official in British Columbia, or in the entire Canada for that matter, has placed a home phone number in a calling card except William “Bill” McNulty, this city’s longest serving councilor and next mayor.
“For others (public officials) it’s a no-no; but for me, I am available to serve 24 hours a day,” McNulty told this writer in an exclusive interview at Kumare Restaurant and Bakery January 26.
“I have great respect for Filipino community in British Columbia and I am actively involved in raising funds to help calamity victims in the Philippines and other countries,” he added.
A long-time Richmond resident who worked as a counsellor in a Vancouver secondary school, McNulty has been city councilor since 1993. His efforts to donate funds for recent victims of typhoons in the Philippines were “through my own personal initiatives,” he said.


“I am consistent and I go out on my own and do something with or without the election to help people here and abroad,” he stressed, explaining that they were able to raise $127,000 for children victims of “tsunami” in Onagawa, Japan last year.
Better known as “Richmond’s Man in Motion”, McNulty has been active as a community volunteer in Richmond for many years, especially in sports-related activities. He has served on Sport B.C. for six years, was a member of the committee which organized Richmond’s bid for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, and has been extensively involved in local community television broadcasting.
McNulty, raised as a Catholic, wants to work with newly landed immigrants to achieve a better quality of life saying “Canada is a better place to live and I want them to enjoy the quality of life here.”
As a public servant, he describes himself as “hard working, very honest, very trustworthy, and most caring councilor.”


“I don’t do things for personal gains. If I consider you as friend, you are my friend for life and not just during the elections,” he quipped.
“I know many people in the (Filipino) community have dug deep in their pockets to help (calamity victims in the Philippines). We are all part of the community and our small efforts become big efforts.”
McNulty has been involved in track and field for six decades and is a life member of Richmond’s Sports Council and the Richmond Lawn Bowling Association. He has been a President of both B.C. Athletics and the Canadian Track & Field Association. For many years he was a B Director of the Canadian Olympic Association.
He has been a coach, manager, administrative leader and Chef-de-Mission of many Canadian Games teams and touring Canadian track and field teams around the world. McNulty is also a long time serving Rotarian.


“I believe in sharing cultures,” McNulty mused. “It is important we understand each other from music to arts to family values. Regardless of religion, race, culture, we all have the same goals and objectives.”
A past president of the U.B.C. Alumni Association, McNulty is currently serving his eighth three-year term on the Senate of the University of British Columbia. He served on Richmond’s Advisory Planning Commission for six years from 1986-1992, five of them as Chairman.
He currently represents Richmond as the first alternate to the first Director on the Metro Vancouver Board. He is also a director on the Board of E-Comm (911) and is Richmond’s representative.


McNulty is director of the Metro Vancouver Housing Committee and a director of the Metro Vancouver Housing Board of directors for the past six years.
He is chairman of Richmond’s Planning Committee and a member of the following Standing Committees of Council: Finance; General Purposes; Community Safety and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
He is also the City Council representative to the following advisory committees, organizations and community associations: the Richmond Sports Council; the Richmond Arenas Association; the Richmond Chamber of Commerce; Thompson Community Centre; Richmond Committee on Disability; and Tourism Richmond.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


‘Symphony 8’ investors launch Philippine Canadian Inquirer

TIMES Telecom CEO and "Symphony 8" head Alan Yong (center) with Alex P. Vidal and Reyfort Media Group Chairman Reynaldo Fortaleza during the launching of the Philippine Canadian Inquirer.

By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A group of investors calling themselves “Symphony 8” led by Times Telecom CEO Alan Yong launched “Canada’s first and only nationwide Filipino Canadian newspaper” at the Rock Studio Academy on Granville St. Tuesday (January 24) evening.
To be published four times a month, Yong said the paper, which carries the masthead of the Manila-based daily, will also circulate in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary soon.
“We have not invited representatives (of the Philippine Daily Inquirer) from the Philippines today but we will invite some of them during our second launching in Toronto in April this year,” Yong said.
Yong, 52, a Malaysian-Canadian, said the Manila PDI office is the one preparing the paper’s printing materials “and we do our own marketing here in Canada.”
In her published message, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the paper “will not only serve as a medium to help readers to stay informed about issues that matter to them, but it will also help to enhance a greater sense of community among Filipino-Canadians.”
In his published message, Philippine Consulate Consul General Jose A.P. Ampeso said “the paper’s entry into the scene will heighten the competition in this field, no doubt, and expand the choices for the Filipino-Canadian reader which, for us, is an exciting prospect as this opens up opportunities to better serve the community through a broader reach and improved and enhanced coverage of events.”
He also welcomed “this development as an opportunity as well as to harness the power of the mass media as a tool for spreading useful and constructive information, empowering the Filipino community, and advocating for Philippine growth and development.”
Others who gave messages were Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Minister James Moore, Member of Parliament for Richmond Alice Wong, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Richmond Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Burnaby Mayor Derek R. Corrigan, News Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright, and the different Filipino-Canadian community associations.
Yong’s other partners include Terry Bahar, Peter Cheung, David Mew, Kenneth Kwan, Gigi Astudillo, Jojo Quimpo, Janice Lozano, Irene Yatco, Lilia Tiamzon, Theresa Baguisa, Ryan Ferrer, Laarni Liwanag, Boy Masakayan, Jenn Torres, Jennifer Yen, and Nancy Floro.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


EXCLUSIVE: Miss World Canada swimsuit component to be removed?


By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Will organizers of the Miss World Canada remove the swimsuit component when the pageant’s 2012 edition selects its new “Voice and Ambassador” on May 13 at the River Rock Resort Show Theater?
This will be known when the Board of Directors of Miss World Canada discuss the controversial issue during the “business mixer” meeting of the ownership, the management and the staff of Quality Hotel and Suites Langley at the hotel in Langley on January 26.
In an exclusive interview, Miss World Canada National Director and Chairman Ike Lalji said they will have as guest Miss World Canada 2011 Riza Santos who will join the discussion.


She will also be promoting Miss World’s powerful mandate of Beauty with a Purpose, said Lalji, who is president of the Coast Meridian Hospitality.
Lalji, an industrial engineer who grew up in Belgium, said there have been mounting suggestions to remove the swimsuit portion in consonance with the pageant’s mandate as “philosophic and charity-driven.”
“While other pageants are based on beauty, ours is not only based on beauty but charity. Other pageants teach the participants how to walk while we teach our participants the life skills — leadership skills prior to the competition,” Lalji stressed.
He said as ambassador of Canada, the Miss World Canada travels around the world to pass the message to the young generation to help the children.


“We involve the United Nations and we let the people all over the world know that Miss World Canada is also about beauty with a purpose,” he pointed out.
Santos, 24, who wowed everyone at the Miss World competition in London with a 4th place finish in the sports competition, and a top 30th overall ranking out of over 120 contestants, will be accompanied by her runner-up Poonam Punni.
Santos is from Calgary and is engineering student and Canadian Forces soldier. She completed her BMQ and SQ with the Canadian Forces Army Reserve, and plans on becoming a commissioned officer.
She has also been a dedicated volunteer for the last 14 years, and continues to raise funds for charities such as Variety – The Children’s Charity, the Safe Haven Foundation, and relief funds for victims of natural disasters.
Lalji said “a lot of changes are happening with Miss World Canada. The search is on for women aged 17-24 that are beautiful on the inside and out, have a philanthropic and passionate mindset, and above all else believe they can be Canada’s next ambassador to the world.”
Every contestant will be taught valuable life building skills which will help open up many doors. The winner will receive numerous gifts, including an all-expense paid trip to China to compete in the Miss World pageant in July of 2012, as well as scholarships, and opportunities to work with and become a spokesperson for Variety – The Children’s Charity.


Lalji said the Miss World Pageant is the oldest and most annually watched televised show in the world, even beating out the Olympics in its ratings. Miss World is one of the two top pageants in the world and continues to break records.
Represented by over 120 countries and fundraising topping £150 million and the most successful ever international television show.
Lalji said they have donated $5 million for children’s charities worldwide. He was accompanied in the interview by Comfort Inn & Suits Director Evelyn Yadao.
Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender will award a certificate to Santos.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized