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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Senior community leader appeals: Let’s vote for Narima Dela Cruz

Multiculturalism Minister Harry Bloy and SPIDS President Narima Dela Cruz

By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Filipino community should rally behind 2012 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards qualifier Narima Dela Cruz of Surrey, British Columbia by voting on line at http://canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants/canadas-top-25-immigrants-2012/vote?n=52.
This was the appeal made recently by Nemecio “Mang Nhemy” Cepeda, Sr., longest-serving former president of the Filipino Zodiac Circle of British Columbia and one of the most respected senior leaders in the Filipino-Canadian community here.
“A vote for Narima Dela Cruz is a vote for the whole Filipino community,” declared the 69-year-old Cepeda, who also lives in Surrey.

NO SURPRISE

Cepeda said he was not surprised when he learned that Dela Cruz, president and founding director of the Surrey Philippine Independence Society (SPIDS), has been chosen to be one of the 75 finalists among a selection of 300+ people.
“She is a very competent and brave woman and we need a leader like her,” said Cepeda, who has started campaigning for Dela Cruz in his organization. “I have been following Mrs. Dela Cruz’s philanthropic activities in the SPIDS and I can safely say that she is a quick thinker and a result-oriented person.”
He said if Filipinos in the whole community will unite, Dela Cruz will make it to top 25 “not only because of our large population here in British Columbia, but because she really is very qualified and somebody who possesses a true leadership.”

HONOR

The prestige of the award is an honor to the entire Filipino community, added Cepeda who emphasized that “by being in the top 75 all over Canada, Dela Cruz is already a winner.”
Cepeda’s call came in the heels of announcement made by the president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, an association of 10,000 professionals, that they would bestow on Dela Cruz the prestigious Realtors Care Award in honor of her charitable works and community involvement in 2011.
“I share this one to my SPIDS family and supporters who supported us with the ‘Sendong’ fundraiser, to the number of students who benefit from the PAC Scholarship Comm. which we head for four years now, and to the new migrants of different community service-oriented associations in Surrey where I have been volunteer in the last years,” Dela Cruz wrote in her Facebook account.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE

The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants is a people’s choice award that recognizes people who have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living here.
Those who have made a particular or significant impact in 2011, as related to their achievements and contributions will be specifically considered to become shortlisted as finalists, it was learned.
Among their prominent past awardees include two former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarksen and Michaelle Jean.
There have been four winners in the past from Surrey, which include Dela Cruz’s Facebook friend, Charan Gill, founder of PICS; 19 past winners from BC which include former Premier Ujjal Dosanjh and her another Facebook friend, Naeem Nick Noorani.

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

HERE TODAY AND GONE TOMORROW

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t waste your time, Joe!

By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — At around past 8 o’clock in the evening of February 24 while I was in New Westminster, I received a call from one Jerry Brimmer, a lawyer from Broadway Street.
Joe wanted me to stop my expose about a “multi-million construction project” which supposedly involves funds from the government. “Which expose are you talking about?” I asked Joe. He did not answer my question.
He volunteered that all the documents in the project are intact and assured me there’s no monkey business in the deal. “Which project are you referring to?” I asked Joe anew. He must be an astute lawyer he didn’t want to leave any trace of “evidence” in that brief conversation. Who gave him my mobile phone number is now the subject of my own investigation.

CONCRETE

I wanted Joe Brimmer to say something concrete and explicit about something that he wanted me to stop from tackling about. If you talk to a lawyer in such circumstance, you must think like a chess player. Joe was polite nevertheless and conversed like a Street Wall stock broker: direct to the point. Cunning.
The only sound bite that I dread not to hear from a stranger as a dyed-in-the-wool investigative reporter is when Joe warned me of the “legal implications” should I continue writing about the issue. Short of saying, “shut up or …”
If the papers are intact and no anomaly attended to the transaction as Joe is confidently claiming, no need to tell an inquisitive journalist to zipper his mouth.

BLOG

Joe, I know you are reading this item in my blog (you claimed to be an avid reader of my other blog alexpvidal.wordpress.com. Fine, thank you, sir!). As long as public interest is at stake, you can never gag or muzzle a journalist in a free society — unless we are in North Korea, Iran, or People’s Republic of China where even the internet is being bastardized by the iron curtain.
The good thing about Canada is that it adheres to the universally recognized freedom of the press and expression. This freedom doctrine is preciously recognized and enshrined under the bill of rights of the constitution of every country that believes in free speech and openness which the Russians call “glasnost.”
Just tell your clients to relax and calm down if they have nothing to hide, Joe. For the meantime, excuse me, I need to do my job.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

EXCLUSIVE! ‘Amado Mercado is clean’

By Alex P. Vidal

(L-R) Vice President Amado Mercado, APV, President Tomas "Tatay Tom" Avendano during happier moments when the MHHS was still being constructed.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Embattled Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) vice president Amado N. Mercado, Jr. has rejected the invitation of president and CEO Tomas “Tatay Tom” Avendano for him to attend a “crucial” board meeting on February 24 saying “he was still hurting” after he was “illegally” ousted as vice president.
“Hindi ako mag aatend. I have already consulted my lawyer at hindi ko masabi kung ano ang gagawin namin (I will not attend the meeting. I can not divulge our plans now that I have already consulted my lawyer,” Mercado said in a phone interview Thursday (February 23) evening.
Several hours earlier in an exclusive interview at the MHHS on Fraser Street, Avendano, 83, said he was appealing for Mercado to attend their regular board meeting on Friday (February 24).

‘NOT OFFICIAL’
“The board resolution (that ousted Mercado as vice president) is not yet official because we have not yet ratified the minutes of that meeting,” said Avendano. “And besides, he is still a member of the board.”
Avendano wants Mercado’s presence during the meeting “so he can clarify matters and answer questions from the board of directors.”
Mercado chaired the committee on infrastructure when the multi-million MHHS building was constructed in 2010 and inuagurated last year.
“I believe Amado Mercado is clean,” explained Avendano. “In fairness to him, he did his job well and I am a witness how he sacrificed a lot when this (MHHS) building was being constructed.”

DONATE

The Vancouver city governmment, British Columbia provincial government, and the Federal government chipped in $500,000 each for the construction, confirmed Avendano, whose term as president will expire on May this year when the MHHS, formerly known as the Filipino Canadian Support Service Society (FCSSS), convenes in a general assembly to elect 15 member of the board of directors.
Avendano said the imbroglio started when some members of the board asked Mercado to provide them with copies of the job order for additional works done in the building.
MHHS completed its additional facility last year dubbed as the MHHS Newcomer Resource Center, the office intended as “expansion of services for newcomers and recent immigrants alike.”
Instead of explaining his side, Mercado was “very emotional” and raised his voice, Avendano disclosed. Some members of the board resented Mercado’s actuations, especially director Jose Ong, added Avendano.
“I’m sad because Ong and Mercado are supposed to be good friends and their families are closed,” he said. “But I think a legitimate question deserves a legitimate answer.”

PROTECT

Avendano, a former councilor of Pasay city in the Philippines, said he could not protect or side with Mercado even if he believes in his integrity “because I am neutral like a presiding judge.”
“And I don’t want to be defensive here,” Avendano quipped. “Everything is alright and I believe there is no irregularity here.”
Avendano said he himself is against the action of the directors to further squeeze Mercado on the additional works done on the building saying “eh total tapos na ang project. Nandyian na yan eh (what is there to be worry when the building is already done?).”
Avendano confirmed they are being “badgered” by at least three auditors — their external auditor, the British Columbia government auditor, and the city hall auditor. “But I understand it’s but natural for them to do (audit us) that because they donated large amount for the project,” he said.

CONTROL

Mercado accused the board of “controlling the meeting.”
“Sila ang nag co-control ng meeting eh. Before the meeting, I asked Tatay Tom what was the agenda and he told me ‘hindi ko alam.’ In any meeting, there should be a communication. I am not perfect but I believe in communication,” Mercado thundered.
He said the board meeting had no quorum and was illegal because there were only six members present, including Avendano.
Avendano identified those present as directors Ong, Ric Asistio, Robert Montes, Ching Concepcion, secretary Pocholo Insua, treasurer Michael Cayetano, and himself. “Some of the names you mentioned (in my previous article) are no longer members of the board because they have already resigned,” Avendano said.
Mercado said it was Avendano who informed him that he had been removed as vice president; Avendano ribbed him for not attending the meeting when the resolution was passed to yank him out as the MHHS’ second highest official.

ATTEND


“I told Tatay Tom that I could not attend the meeting at that time because I was at home attending to an important communication in the Philippines,” Mercado explained. “I already wanted to resign then but Tatay Tom told me to stay put. But when I stayed, he did not protect me.”
Mercado said despite what happened, “I still continue to receive favorable feedbacks from my supporters in the community. I assured them that I would continue to serve the community and the society (MHHS) in my capacity as a private individual even if I am not anymore the vice president.”
“We are not at war with Amado (Mercado). I want him to attend the meeting tomorrow (February 24) because he is still a member of the board. His problem is only with the board,” assured Avendano.
Avendano said Mercado should attend the February 24 meeting because it will be attended by newly appointed directors he identified as Mel Cruz, Patricia Diamzon, Roy Ricarse, and Marius Alparaque.
“These new members of the board of directors have nothing to do with the resolution (that stripped Mercado of his position as vice president),” explained Avendano. “And besides, Ong is scheduled to go to the Philippines and might not attend the meeting.”

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

(EXCLUSIVE REPORT) CRISIS IN MHHS ‘Ousted’ vice president: I will consult my lawyer

By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The former vice president of the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) here has disagreed with the decison of the board of directors to strip him of his position saying he would bring the matter to court if necessary.
“I will consult my lawyer (regarding this matter),” the emotional Amado Mercado boomed in an exclusive phone interview on February 20. “What they did was illegal and this will reflect on the image of the (Filipino) community.”
Mercado lamented that he was never given a due process even if “I have been serving the MHHS for 12 years now as a volunteer.”
Mercado said the board did not have a quorum when they convened to remove him as vice president. “And besides, there was no vacancy,” he stressed. “It’s a long story. For the meantime, I will confer the matter with my lawyer.”

STRICKEN

Mercado’s name has been stricken out as vice president but he is still member of the board, confirmed MHHS president Tomas Avendano.
“He was not removed,” Avendano explained. “He is still a member of the board.”
Avendano said under the MHHS constitution and by-laws, the board can remove all officers, including him as president, for loss of confidence.
He did not elaborate. Avendano did not disclose the reason why Mercado’s position was supposedly abolished but confirmed “there is no more (position of) vice president.”
“I can not comment on this issue further because the minutes of the meeting did not yet reach my table,” said Avendano, 83, who just arrived from Ottawa as awardee of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal “for his commitment to helping new immigrants on Canada’s West Coast to integrate into Canadian society” on February 6.

AWARE

Avendano admitted he was aware of the board’s decision and blamed Mercado for not attending the meeting held before he flew to Ottawa when the matter was discussed. Avendano denied he did not protect Mercado during the board meeting saying “as president I have to be neutral and will only listen like a presiding judge.”
Formerly called as the Filipino Canadian Support Services Society (FCSSS) until renamed to MHHS in 2001, the non-stock, non-profit organization was founded in 1996.
According to its website, the society “sought to establish a new center to serve as a one-stop-shop to serve its clients and by 2003, the MHHS inaugurated its main center on Fraser and 32nd Avenue. The three-storey edifice hosted temporary accommodations for newly landed immigrants, respite housing, as well as staff offices, rooms for meetings, counseling, and training/workshops. The expanded support services included settlement, job assistance, and programs for the youth, seniors and families.”

FACILITY

The Society’s services reportedly outgrew its facility, and a second office was established by 2009. The second site hosted the Fast Track employment services program, as well as workshops for EI clients, skills development programs, job creation partnerships, targeted wage subsidies and self-employment assistance.
With financial support coming from all three levels of government – Federal, Provincial and City – the society began to construction to expand its main center in 2010.
The board is composed of directors Ric Asistio (medical supplies representative), Tita M. Bognot (business owner), Rebecca Delos Reyes (retired), Limbania Deza Lau (retired nurse), Roberto Montes (welding inspector), Jose Ong (IT consultant/realtor), and Danilo Pizarro (business owner). Secretary is Pocholo Insua (mortgage broker) and treasurer is Michael Cayetano (certified general accountant).

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Q and A with British Columbia’s ‘Prettiest Filipina’

THE VICTORY on June 23, 2010

By Alex P. Vidal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — When Winnie Chan was crowned as the 2010 Miss Philippines British Columbia in the “BC Prettiest Filipinas” competitions at the River Rock Hotel in Richmond on June 23, 2010 she became a household name in the Filipino community after collecting four of the five major awards that night.
And because of her beauty and intelligence, a one-two punch combination rarely possessed by many eager-beaver beauty titlists today, everyone thought she would next enter the showbiz in the Philippines like other Filipino-Canadians and Filipino-Americans who have reaped stardom and accolades in beauty competitions.
One of the most low profile beauties in the Filipino community in British Columbia, Chan, a product of the University of Sto. Tomas in the Philippines where she obtained a degree in Bachelor in Music, opted to stay in Canada to continue with her “mainstream volunteer works.”
With humility as her most favorite virtue, Chan is now a recording artist, actress, singer and one of the most senior and active talents of the “FYE Live” variety show produced by the Surrey-based Maxipro Entertainment of which she is part of the production staff. She takes pride of having the privilege to work together with highly regarded musical titans and educators Soccoro “Babes” Newland, Jackie Diy, and Debbie Arkoncel.
Q: As a prominent entertainer/singer/host and beauty personality in the Filipino-Canadian community, what do you think is your best asset?
A: Hahaha, Asset? I would say being happy and contented in my own skin. If you’re oozing with confidence and happiness, it shows and everything else follows.

Q: Aside from entertainment what are your other involvements in community-based programs and activities?
A: Actively participating at this new variety show at Shaw Cable 116, “FYE Live” and also part of the MaxiPro Entertainment Talent Management Group. Aside from being active in the Filipino Community, I am quite active with mainstream volunteer works.

Q: As a senior artist and member of production staff of the “FYE Live” how do you handle your job as well as your working relationships with both the producers and the younger artists?
A: Balance and flexibility are the key. You cant be too rigid and closed minded especially now, the younger generations are exposed to things that were either scarce or non existent during my time. You can’t be too liberal and forward that certain values that are still highly regarded by other individuals are forgotten or set aside. Although I am mainly work with Filipinos, I still deal with different demographics and personalities. Young or old, you have to treat everyone with RESPECT, no exceptions. One very helpful tip, learn the art of listening, a lot of relationships whether personal or work fail because we tend to overlook facts or reasoning but focus on what we need and want.

Q: What advice can you give to uprising and and young Filipino-Canadian singers and other entertainers who are following your footsteps as a successful artist?
A: It sounds cliché but it is true, “be your own self.” No two individual are alike, we all have our own special quality that makes us unique. Be open to failure but embrace success, polish those rough edges and never be apprehensive in seeking help, guidance and advice from people or individuals that have your happiness in their hearts.


Q: What are the beauty titles, awards, honors you received in the past three years here in Canada?
A: Oh, after my stint as 2010 Ms. Philippines BC, I decided that it was my first and last beauty pageant. You know how some people have their bucket list, that was part of mine. I am not much of an award or honor type of person, mind you – who wouldn’t want to receive or be nominated for something.

Q: Describe your life as an artist and prominent figure in entertainment world here in British Columbia.
A: My life is very much comparable to majority of families here in BC. Its quite routine almost every day despite the different events that I have to go to on weekends. Here’s a typical weekday for me: wake-up, work, then off to either meetings or whatever engagement I have in the evening, catch- up time with my daughter, sleep really late or early in the am then back to same routine the next day. Weekends: errands then off to one or two of the following: recording, taping, event, meeting, party. It does get a little hectic at times but I do enjoy what I do whether work or my extra-curricular activities.

Q: How do you assess the impact of Filipino singers invited by Canada-based producers to perform in concerts here?
A: Artists are same everywhere, the only thing that differentiates them is the artists’ ability to engage their audience. You may have an awesome singer but if he/she is unable to keep the crowd engaged from beginning to end of the show then it minimizes their talent. You have to be an ENTERTAINER, you cant just be a singer or just a dancer. The great singers or artists have one thing in common, they are all effective entertainers.

Q: What is your philosophy in life?
A: Philosophies for me, First and foremost practice self-awareness: knowing my strengths, weakness and my abilities. Treat everyone with respect regardless of their color, sexual orientation, religion, political views, economic status, young or old even education. Carry humility with you at all times – despite all the success and achievements in your life. humility- in accepting your mistakes, failures and indiscretions. Lastly, maintain a cheerful HEART.


Q: What do you think is the biggest asset of the Filipino-Canadian community?
A: Honestly? I personally think that the biggest asset of the FCC is a double edged sword: competitiveness. Pros: we push ourselves over and beyond our limits to reach our goals and objectives. When focused in succeeding we all work harmoniously. When we experience stress or roadblocks we emerge victorious because we are driven to win. Cons: we turn everything into rivalry even the most innocent things e.g. fund raising events. We start creating cliques, groups or clans causing disparity and partiality within our community.


Q: Your working relationship with fellow artists in the entertainment world here in British Columbia.
A: In general, artists that I’ve had the honor of working with are quite easy to get along with. A lot of them are firmly grounded, no air of arrogance, humble, down to earth and most importantly confident. It’s not a perfect world therefore it is but safe to say that as much as I would like to maintain good relationship with everyone we can not please them all. I just have to accept that we are all individuals and that we all come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs and values.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

BRAWL IN PRESS CONFERENCE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojAtKUunjpc&feature=player_embedded

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Uncategorized