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Category Archives: NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

I wasn’t given my due process, cries Fil-Can immigration expert

“In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you’ve heard the other side.”

— Euripides, The Children of Herakles

By Alex P. Vidal29572661_10210915151185240_5653732937757158570_n

NEW YORK CITY –– A Filipino-Canadian immigration consultant based in Surrey, British Columbia has protested the advisory posted by the Consulate General of the Philippines in Vancouver, Canada on its website on July 30, 2018 saying he was “unfairly targeted and singled out without any due process.”

The advisory, authorized by the Philippine Overseas Labor

Office (POLO) with office at World Trade Center, Canada Place in Vancouver, Canada, said, “The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Vancouver advises the general public about the unauthorized and unlicensed recruitment of Filipino workers being conducted by ‘Harvard Immigration.’”

“It was so sudden and so quick,” sobbed Jay Razon, owner of Harvard Immigration. “There was no warning whatsoever and I was not given a chance to air my side.”

The advisory added: “Based on the verification made by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (“POLO”) in Vancouver, it was determined that Harvard Immigration is not duly authorized/licensed to recruit Filipino workers for employment in Canada. Filipinos seeking employment in Canada are advised to deal only with legitimate

recruitment/employment agencies that are duly registered and accredited with the

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (“POEA”).”

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The advisory stressed that “a license to engage in immigration consultancy activities is not an authority to undertake recruitment of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFW”). It is also prohibited even for a licensed recruitment agency to charge a worker any recruitment fee to facilitate deployment to Canada.”

Razon, 63, said he surmised the advisory came out in the heels of an advertisement in the Surrey-based Philippinze Showiz Today by Lucky Supermarket located on Kings Boulevard in Surrey, which announced the hiring of workers for various positions.

He admitted he had “an outstanding contract” with Lucky Supermarket “to provide immigration services to potential supermarket workers.”

Razon, who obtained a license to operate for Harvard Immigration two years ago,

Clarified that “I was not hired primarily by the company (Lucky Supermarket) to recruit the workers but for immigration services e.g. LMIA application and Work Permit application.”

LMIA is Labour Market Impact Assessment, a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker.

He said his company did not sign any contract with the workers.

The newspaper advertisement “clearly stated that applicants may send their resume directly to the hrsurrey@luckysupermarket.ca.”

“If hired by the company I can now offer my immigration services,” Razon explained.

A nurse and civil engineer by profession, Razon pointed out that “I am a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) but not a licensed worker recruiter here in Canada nor in the Philippines. I am just not allowed to recruit workers.”

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Upon the suggestions of Joel Castillo, president of the United Filipino-Canadian Association of BC (UFCABC), Razon said he tried to link with Maria Facundo-Lilly, owner of the Vancouver-based Reliable Nanny and Caregiver Placement Agency, “in order to get suggestions on how to abide with the law.”

Razon said he wanted to explain this to Labor Attaché Margarita Eugenia Victorino but she reportedly threatened to file a case against him.

POLO has issued a “cease and desist” order for his company thus “my momentum (as an immigration consultant) to help the more than 150 Filipino workers has ran out,” he protested.

“I could lose my license as a consequence of this issue, but I want to emphasize that I  am only helping the Filipino workers and I have worked so hard to obtain my license,” Razon bewailed.

Reitred Consul General Jose Ampeso and former Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) vice president Amado Mercado Jr. are reportedly among the community leaders who “understand” Razon’s predicament and are trying to help fix his woes with the POLO.

 

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Posted by on August 17, 2018 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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I prefer hell over Federalism

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”  –Thomas Jefferson

By Alex P. Vidal16265768_10208183164239698_2290510430437645716_n

NEW YORK CITY — We salute the 67 percent of the Filipinos who rejected the proposed shift from the unitary to federal form of government in the Philippines surveyed recently by the Social Weather Station (SWS).
At least the Filipinos are now starting to wake up and think logically.
Filipinos are now aware; they have become vigilant and dead set to torpedo any sinister attempt to take them for a nightmarish ride to an ambiguous territory.
Not only that.
In rejecting federalism, we also expect the thinking Filipinos to oppose at all cost any move to cannibalize and distort the Philippine Constitution by changing it without any justifiable reason.
A big no to “cha-cha.”
Some of those agitating to rearrange the fundamental law of the land are incumbent legislators who come from political dynasties and those with vested self, political and business interests determined to protect, sustain, and serve their own whims and caprices.
There is no need to change the Charter actually.

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Our democracy has survived since it was drafted and approved in 1987; and because of this holistic Constitution, Filipinos were able to prevent a totalitarian leadership, a mob rule, invasion by numerically superior forces on our sovereign seas and other territories, and a full-scale Martial Law.
Our present Constitution has effectively served as the watchdog of our democratic institutions and the vanguard of our basic rights and freedom.
It’s the best Constitution in the world, according to former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.
It’s pro-poor, pro-women, pro-family, pro-life, swore the retired magistrate, who helped draft the Charter.
The reason Filipinos are afraid of federalism is because they don’t want to experiment with this monster which will only further bloat the bureaucracy through the creation of 18 federated regions and impoverish the people by the imposition of double or even triple taxes on the poor, according to experts.

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In the first place, there was lack of information campaign on the part of the proponents, who only wanted to push the untested federalism into our throats even if there was no urgency and emergency to justify the jump from unitary to federalism.
Simply put, we are not prepared for federalism and we don’t need it now.
We prefer a unitary system of government run like hell by leaders elected directly by the people in a democratic election, than a federal system of government run like heaven by a dictator and his lapdogs in the parliament.
I prefer hell than the risky, divisive and suicidal federalism.

 
 

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Pray for Jing-Jing and Dabing

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”

–Steven Wright

By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY — The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) in the Philippines can’t blame the family and constituents of Monica-Blumentritt, Iloilo City Proper village chief Keith “Dabing” Espinosa and her husband, Jesus “Jing-Jing” Espinosa Jr., if they blame the police if something bad will happen to the Espinosa couple.
Chief Supt. John Bulalaco, the PRO-6 director, has been telegraphing their punches these past weeks.
First, Director Bulalacao has announced he would never meet with Dabing as long as her name is on the list of suspected drug lords.
Dabing, who is reportedly in hiding, had been wanting to see Director Bulalaco to clear her name but the top cop was quoted in media reports as saying, “I have no time for her.”
It’s understandable.
A Dirty Harry film once explicitly proclaimed that authorities aren’t supposed to compromise with the underworld.

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Second, Director Bulalaco has revealed that Jing-Jing, now detained at the Iloilo Provincial Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo for frustrated murder, continued to engage in selling of illegal drugs and is using his family members, including Dabing, as fronts.
Director Bulalacao’s revelation on Jing-Jing’s jail activities was a palpable sign that the police could be wittingly or unwittingly trying to condition the public mind that the Espinosa couple has become incorrigible, ergo…
If we deeply analyze these two damning pronouncements coming from Western Visayas’ highest ranking police official, it seems they are harrowing indications of the portent of things to come.
God forbid.
Friends and family members should start praying for the couple’s safety.

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We only wish that if the police have enough evidence against Jing-Jing and Dabing in their alleged continued involvement in illegal drug trade, proper charges should be immediately filed against them in court.
If there are pending cases in court against them, let the litigation continue and grind to its full conclusion.
At least that’s how the justice system in the Philippines works.
Let the judicial truth come out during the trial.
We can’t subject the controversial couple into an endless trial by publicity.

We can’t convict them through allegations, tough words and a public rebuke.
Even if they are known to be the “soldiers of the darkness”, suspects in the Philippines still have to avail of their rights under the Constitution to be heard in a competent court.
They are still innocent until proven otherwise.
Efforts must be pursued to secure them first before being brought to a fair trial.
 
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Posted by on July 21, 2018 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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Do city mayors need to travel abroad?

“No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

 
By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY — Critics ribbed the late former Iloilo City mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon and former mayor Mansueto “Mansing” Malabor for being “barriotic mayors” because they never attended a single international conference for city mayors during their administrations in the 90s.
Ganzon, of course, traveled a lot outside the Philippines when he was a senator from 1963 to 1969 as part of his legislative mandate.
Being “barriotic mayors”, as we very well know, did not diminish their effectiveness as public servants.
Even without any junket abroad, both Ganzon and Malabor were hands-on leaders who never had any deficiency in the services they rendered for Iloilo City.
Ganzon and Malabor may not have yielded to the increasing and growing demands of the climate of global synergy during their terms, but they were holed up in giving priority and attention to the more practical and immediate social concerns of their constituents in the barangays.
Iloilo City mayors started to expand their political, cultural and economic horizons internationally starting when Jerry P. Treñas served as the city mayor for three consecutive terms from 2001 to 2010.


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As the national president of League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) during the term of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Treñas became a globetrotter.
He racked up more than a dozen foreign trips, all in relation to his mandate as the local chief executive of Iloilo City and as the LCP boss.
When Jed Patrick Mabilog took over as city mayor in 2011, he also circumnavigated the globe in relation to his job as a father of Iloilo City like Treñas; Mabilog even landed as the No. 5 in World Mayor 2014.
Following their footsteps today is incumbent Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, who have already gone to the United States for the Iloilo Trade Mission in June and in Singapore for the World Cities Summit in July this year in only nine months since he became the city mayor.
Mayor Joe III is expected to crisscross the sky some more for the future international conferences before and after the 2019 elections, if he wins.

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As part of the global village in this age of social media, cyberspace and globalization, our mayors or other local officials for that matter, should travel or accept invitations to go abroad, once in a while, and connect with the rest of the world or be left behind.
Interacting with foreign counterparts and actively participating in floor discussions and policy making deliberations in the summits is tantamount to upgrading their leadership skills and solidifying the selling points of the city that they represent.
There are major conferences calendared annually that seriously tackle bilateral modernization plans, trade packages, exchange programs, long-term infrastructure grants; paradigm shifts in environment, health, economic, tourism, education, culture, and related concerns that need the physical attendance of city mayors and not necessarily the attendance of heads of state or presidents.

 
 

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Dinagyang’s New York trip on despite visa problems

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”
— Zig ZiglarBy Alex P. Vidal
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NEW YORK CITY
 — The participation of a tribe from Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival in the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade here on June 3 was nearly canceled after tribe members encountered visa problems in the US Embassy in Manila.
This was revealed by Joji Juele-Jalandoni, former president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), who called up this writer morning May 26 to convey the message that “everything is set and ready after the problem has been resolved.”
Jalandoni, from Victorias Milling Company in Negros Occidental, said if the problem was not fixed on time, only the nine-day “Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum” from June 1 to June 9 would be held without the Dinagyang tribe in the parade to be represented by 2018 grand champion, Tribu Panayanon, of the Iloilo City National High School.
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Jalandoni said another tribe from Guimaras’ Mangghan Festival, Hubon Manguguma, will represent the Philippines together with Tribu Panayanon in the biggest Filipino-American Independence Day parade in the East Coast that is expected to attract some 100,000 audience on Madison Avenue.
“They (Dinagyang and Manggahan contingent) will arrive on May 31 (US time),” confirmed Jalandoni, a registered nurse in New Jersey, who is responsible for bringing the two festivals from Iloilo City and Guimaras here.
Problems hounded Tribu Panayanon after only 11 members were given travel visa by the US Embassy, Jalandoni said.
“They have to recruit warriors from Tribu Salognon who already have the visa in order to complete the team, thus the problem was resolved,” she explained. “It’s not nice to see only 11 warriors dancing during the parade.”
Tribu Salognon is the 2016 grand champion and represented the country in the New York parade’s 118th edition.
The first-ever trade mission, to be led by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Mrs. Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, will fly to New York via Hong Kong on May 29 (Philippine time) and will arrive in the US on board Cathay Pacific on May 29 (US time).

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The Espinosa couple, accompanied by Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Executive Assistant Enrique “Rex” Aguado and Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel “Aye” Castaneda, fashion designers Jackie Penalosa and Bo Parcon, journalists Florence Hibionada (The Daily Guardian), Tara Yap (Manila Bulletin), and Herbert Vego (Panay News), West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Mass Communications dean, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, among others, will grace the opening of Ilonggo fashion and jewelry exhibit at the Philippine Center Gallery on 556 Fifth Avenue on June 1.
The Ilonggo trade missionaries are tasked to “introduce” Iloilo City to New York City, Washington DC and Fairfax, Virginia through roadshows showcasing the creations of Ilonggo jewellers, fashion designers and property developers.
Espinosa will host a UP Alumni event on June 2.
The annual parade, spearheaded by PIDCI, will blast off at 12 noon on June 3, followed by cultural presentations.
The city mayor and several representatives from the private sector will hold the Trade and Investment Forum at the Philippine Center.

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Famed NY-based Ilonggo entertainment producer Jhett Tolentino will spearhead the group in a Broadway tour at seven o’clock in the evening on June 5.
An investment forum at University of North America, Fairfax, Virginia will be held on June 6.
This will be followed by a Childhood Education Study in Washington D.C. in the morning and Investment Forum in the evening at the Philippine Embassy on June 7.
The Iloilo contingent will tour Washington D.C. on June 8.
The will cap their US visit with a Philippine Independence Day Ball in the evening at Hilton, East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 9.
Members of the Iloilo Trade Mission depart to the Philippines on June 10.

 

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I hope there will be no regrets

“When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.”

–Maurice Maeterlinck

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — If Iloilo City in the Philippines is a human face, the condemned Iloilo Freedom Grandstand sitting on the area of the 600-square meter Sunburst Park, serves as the face’s mouth.

It has been one of Iloilo City’s most prominent landmarks facing the “eagle” building on J.M. Basa Street for more than 50 years now.

In the name of development, it will soon disappear and relocated to Muelle Loney, adjacent to the waterfront area of Customs House Plaza, Sunburst Park’s old name.

Because of its intrinsic value, many Ilonggos have considered it as part of the metropolis’ tangible past.

Owing to its cultural and practical values and especially that it’s not an eyesore, some Ilonggos are sad that after the face of

“The Most Loyal and Noble City” or “La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo” has undergone a major surgery this year, its mouth, a reminder of the metropolis’ culture and complexity, will no longer be found under the nose.

In one of his “farewell” visits in various places in the Philippines, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, accompanied by President Carlos Garcia, set foot at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on July 10, 1961 and delivered a nostalgic speech.

This event will forever be etched in the memory of the Ilonggos.

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We just hope that there will be no regrets after the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has been demolished.

It can’t be denied that the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, renovated by the late Rep. Raul Gonzalez Sr. several years back, has brought character and certain charm to the neighborhood that Ilonggos had lived in ever since the late political maverick former Senator Rodolfo Ganzon gave it a sparkling name nearly 50 years ago.

Once it’s gone, there is no more chance to restore or save one of Iloilo City’s most memorable historic sites.

Once a major bureaucratic decision has been made with finality, no one can be certain what will be valued in the future.

Once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever like a member of the family who passed away.

The memory of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has taught us about the history that happened before we were born; it’s imposing image has promoted the respect for those who lived in different times and different political and social climates not only in the city and province of Iloilo but also in the entire region.

It has cultivated pride of our past and heritage making the Ilonggos unique in the world.

 

 

 

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What has the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand done to deserve death?

“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.”

–Branch Rickey

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — What have I done to deserve death? Did I humiliate the Ilonggos?

Did I commit a heinous crime against humanity?

Did I play host to scandalous and violent activities?

Did I pose a threat to national security?

Did I obstruct traffic and the pedestrians’ right of way?

Did I pillage the environment and natural resources?

Thus would have been the valid laments of the condemned Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City in the Philippines if it could only speak and protest its imminent extermination.

Instead of being “rewarded” for bringing pride and honor to the Ilonggos since it was built some 60 years ago, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand faces demolition in the modern era when men are equipped with scientific knowledge and expertise to build and renovate.

Instead of being preserved and restored to its old glory for helping showcase and sustain the Ilonggos’ spirit, aesthetic and ingenuity in the global village, the grandstand will be blown to bits in the age of technology when innovation and state-of-the-art infrastructure are at fever-pitch.

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The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has been known to be the Ilonggos’ version of Munich’s Allianz Arena, Rome’s The Colosseum, Milan’s San Siro, Barcelona’s Camp Nuo, Portland’s Providence Park, New Zealand’s Forsyth Barr, Poland’s Stadion Energa, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana, Boston’s Fenway Park, and Hungary’s Pancho Arena.

It is a source of their hope and pride, not shame and scandal.

Where is our gratitude?

But, wait a minute.

Proponents of the move to dismantle the grandstand and transfer it to Muelle Loney facing the Iloilo River, will argue that the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand will not be actually wiped off the face of the earth.

It will only be transferred to pave the way for expansion and improvement of the Sunburst Park, where the present Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on J.M. Basa Street stands.

From its present location where it faces the giant eagle in a building across the street, pedestrians, and passing vehicles to Muelle Loney, where it will face the river, the boats, and the fishes.

In simple explanation, it will be “demoted demographically.”

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The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand is a legitimate asset. Demolishing it doesn’t make sense.

Preserving it is one aspect of paying homage to our heritage with which we can interact and adapt.

The grandstand, which has survived the test of time, has specific historic context.

It should have been meticulously and exactly preserved.

Since it has become part of our character and identity over the years, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand must be lived in, interacted with and maintained by the public.

The outdoor structure, conceptualized after the Ilonggos’ right to elect their local officials commenced in 1950, has changed with us, thus recording a piece of each generation’s story from circa fifties to Internet Age.

Ilonggos are morally and patriotically obliged to respect this community resource and preserve it for future generations.

Owing to its colorful history, the preservation of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand can help strengthen the community’s future.

The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand’s imposing presence in a piece of property of the former Customs House Plaza, would have helped create vibrant, cultural downtowns that will further draw art, festival, tourism, and other activities which in turn draw investment, revenue, and economic growth for Iloilo City aside from solidifying a community’s past.

 
 

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