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CANADA’S FIRST AND ONLY NATIONWIDE FILIPINO-CANADIAN NEWSPAPER VOL. 5 NO. 114
MAY 9, 2014
No pay hike for workers
Red Cross looking for land for Yolanda
Int’l “sextortion” ring busted
Global Filipino: Edgar “Egay” Calabia Samar
Celebrating “Mother’s Day” in Canada and around the world
US, Filipino troops begin huge military drill amid Manila’s territorial standoff with Beijing BY THANYARAT DOKSONE The Associated Press MANILA, PHILIPPINES—More than 5,000 U.S. and Filipino troops began ❱❱ PAGE 14 US, Filipino
RUNNING WATERS. Lugnason Falls, found in Barangay Napo in San Juan, Siquijor, is a very accessible therapeutic spot, just a five-minute trek from
the road. Lugnason has several smaller cascades farther upstream. PHOTO BY EDWIN BACASMAS
De Lima: Disclosure of Napoles list up to Senate Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who divulged within hours of Janet Lim-Napoles’ revelation last month that senators were involved in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, has stood her ground not to talk any more—unless compelled by the Senate.
“By law and the Constitution, yes, the Senate can compel me to disclose the list, under pain of contempt,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters on Monday amid calls by lawmakers at the resumption of Congress’ session following a Lenten break that she make public the affidavit Napoles gave to her on April 22.
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MAY 9, 2014
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3 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
DOTC scam traced to Janet BY GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer IN WHAT looked like a dress rehearsal for the P10-billion pork barrel scam a few years later, two alleged accomplices at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) of suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles approved a P407-million supply contract with Napoles’ trading firm for the purchase of computers and mobile communication equipment that turned out to be “ghost” deliveries. Rene Maglanque and Domingo A. Reyes Jr. separately signed a series of purchase orders designating Jo Chris Trading—a company owned by Napoles and run by her eldest daughter after whom it is named—as the sole supplier of ACU-1000 (which interconnect various communication devices) and Vipernet laptops and desktops for distribution to politicians between 2002 and 2004, according to documents obtained by the INQUIRER. The then DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, who passed away last year, also signed on the purchase orders, the documents showed. Main conduits
According to Levito Baligod, the counsel for the pork barrel scam whistle-blowers who exposed this precursor scam, his clients identified Maglanque and Reyes as Napoles’ “main conduits” in her transactions with the DOTC. “We believe that the massive funds she was able to obtain from the DOTC beginning in 2002 enabled her to perfect her modus operandi which she used in the pork barrel scam,” the lawyer said. In the midst of speculation last week about the names contained in Napoles’ tell-all affidavit on the pork barrel scam, some of the scam whistle-blowers released a document that named more lawmakers that they said they had dealt with while they were under the employ of Napoles in her JLN Corp. The document pertained to a P407million information technology project of the DOTC in 2002 and 2004 that Napoles allegedly cornered and which was endorsed by nine former and current legislators that included an aunt of President Aquino and the son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Baligod said that based on the testimony of the former Napoles employees, the supply contract for the IT equipment involved “ghost deliveries.” They claimed Napoles simply made up the list of beneficiaries and faked the delivery receipts. Curiously, Maglanque and Reyes, who were both DOTC assistant secretaries, signed the documents for the purchase orders as undersecretaries/officers in
charge for staff services. Maglanque ran for and won the post of mayor of Candaba, Pampanga, under the ruling Liberal Party in 2013. His campaign streamers welcoming Napoles’ family to Candaba for his oathtaking in June 2013 gave away his ties to the businesswoman. (The Napoleses did not show up at the oath-taking.) Reyes, who whistle-blowers said was called “Domeng” by Napoles, is one of the several retired generals Mendoza appointed to the DOTC when he took over the department in 2001. Reyes is the brother of retired police general Doroteo Reyes II, a classmate of Mendoza at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) who similarly served at the DOTC as undersecretary for civil aviation and head of its bids and awards committee. Baligod noted that Napoles’ alleged swindling operations at the DOTC was preceded by her anomalous supply contracts with the military (Napoles and her husband were among several people who were charged by the Ombudsman for the military’s purchase of substandard Kevlar helmets worth P3.8 million), which in turn foreshadowed the key role she allegedly played in the P728-million fertilizer scam allegedly masterminded by former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante in which her Jo Chris Trading supplied substandard farm inputs. Two justifications
The DOTC purchase orders cited two provisions to justify the designation of Jo Chris Trading as the sole supplier of the IT equipment. The first was Section 50-C of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which allowed direct contracting to exclusive dealers or manufacturers who do not have subdealers selling at lower prices or whose products have no cheaper substitutes in the market. The second was Section 35.1.2 b of the IRR of Executive Order 40-2001 (the consolidated state procurement rules) which allows the procurement of small additions or no more than 10 percent of the existing fleet from preselected suppliers “who are wellestablished and provide satisfactory after-sales service.” Denials by lawmakers
But some of the lawmakers who were identified as having lobbied for the distribution of communication and computer equipment to select cities, provinces and municipalities, are adamant that they never had a hand in choosing Napoles as the supplier of the equipment or in monitoring their distribution which they claimed was the DOTC’s responsibility as the project’s implementing agency.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, who said she was answering for herself and her husband, former Sen. Manuel Villar, said that it was the DOTC which bought and distributed the computers and that as lawmakers, they were duty-bound to see to it that their constituents got a share of what she claimed to have been an annual allocation. “Let them ask the DOTC. We do not know its supplier. Should we have asked (DOTC) for the price and the supplier of the computers they were giving us? They might not give us,” said Villar. “Now they are saying Napoles was the supplier. We do not know Napoles, That was 2002, nobody knew Napoles in 2002. How will we know it was evil?” said Villar. At the time, Villar was the Las Piñas representative and part of the minority bloc in the 12th Congress. Documents supplied by Baligod showed that minority bloc members received about P130 million worth of computers from the DOTC between 2002 and 2003 through Deputy Speaker Carlos Padilla, who was then minority leader. Minority used
Villar’s husband, who was a senator at the time, was named in the documents as a recipient of P60 million worth of computers for distribution to several regions in the country.
In a phone interview, Padilla said that it appeared that the minority bloc was used as a front to release the DOTC funds to Napoles. Padilla said that a purchase order releasing P10 million of his pork barrel funds to Napoles for the purchase of computers was suspicious considering that it was released on July 6, 2004, or more than a month after his third and final term as Nueva Vizcaya representative lapsed. “I was the lone senatorial bet of Ping Lacson who was running for president in 2004. Howcould I be the recipient of the government’s generosity when we were one of its biggest critics?” asked Padilla. Fraudulent releases
Padilla also alleged that the release of the DOTC computers was fraudulent. He cited a purchase order signed by Mendoza and Reyes as having released P10 million worth of computers from Jo Chris Trading to his district on July 16, 2004, or more than a month after his third and final term as representative of Nueva Vizacaya expired. Unlike the P407 million DOTC computer program (which was part of the regular agency outlay), this one was sourced from his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) with the special allotment release order issued on June 21, 2004. ❱❱ PAGE 8 DOTC scam
MAY 9, 2014
Farmers barricade DAR, force suspension of hearing BY DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Protesting farmers on Tuesday forced the cancellation of a public congressional hearing on proposals to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program by barricading the gates at the Department of Agrarian Reform. The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) declared the “peasants’ barricade” a success after the public hearing by the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agrarian Reform (COCAR) at the DAR offices in Quezon City had to be called off. The protesters had set up bamboos with barbed wire to block off the DAR’s main gates to derail what the group described as “a bogus public hearing” on House Bill House Bill 4296 and Senate Bill 2188, both seeking to extend the CARP by another five years. The CARP is to expire on
June 30. At about 10 a.m. it was announced that the COCAR had cancelled the meeting due to the barricade. KMP leaders said the CARP extension bills were “an insult to the millions of farmers who fall victims to CARP-sponsored land-grabbing, forced displacements, and agrarian-related killings.” The group’s secretary general, Antonio Flores, said the COCAR public hearing was “bogus” because “farmers do not have a genuine voice and representation and were not invited in the so-called public hearing.” “It is a blatant maneuver by the COCAR to railroad the HB 4296 and SB 2188,” Flores said. The KMP said the CARP not only failed in breaking the monopoly of big landlords and foreign corporations over vast tracts of lands, but consciously favored big landlords and denied farmers their rights over the land. CARP “has intensified landlessness among farmers and
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said the CARP not only failed in breaking the monopoly of big landlords and foreign corporations over vast tracts of lands, but consciously favored big landlords and denied farmers their rights over the land. PHOTO BY DANIEL ZUCKERKANDEL / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
paved the way for continuous landgrabbing across the coun-
try by big local and foreign agribusinesses, agricultural trans-
national corporations, and real estate giants,” the KMP said. “Yet, after more than a quarter of a century of injustice to the peasants, we are now being forced to mull over an extension of this disgustingly sham land reform. Extending CARP even for a single minute or second is nothing but pure madness,” Flores said. In June 1988, the government of then President Corazon Aquino enacted the CARP through Republic Act 6657 seeking a more equitable distribution of agricultural land to farmers and farm workers. Subsequent amendments in Congress extended it until 2014. But due to concerns about the DAR’s low land distribution output, bills were filed in the House of Representatives and the Senate to extend the CARP by another five years. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio De Los Reyes earlier said he welcomed the proposal but did not think it was necessary. ■
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‘Bangus’ saga: From Dagupan to the world BY GABRIEL CARDINOZA Philippine Daily Inquirer TONIGHT, thousands of residents of the coastal city of Dagupan in Pangasinan province will party on the stretch of the Dawel-pantal-lucao Road to cap the monthlong celebration of Bangus (Milkfish) Festival. Thousands of bangus will be grilled in the 3kilometer bypass road, while popular bands will perform on 10 stages along the stretch. In the last 12 years, “Kalutan ed Dalan” (Grilling on the Street) has always been the finale of the Bangus Festival, now the biggest and most-awaited summer event in Pangasinan. “It has come a long way,” says Sharon Maramba, tourism development coordinator of Dagupan. “We have learned from our mistakes and those learning points have helped us improve every time we celebrate the festival.” The festival was launched in 2002 as part of the traditional Pistay Dayat (Sea Festival) celebration, the fisherfolk’s thanksgiving activity held every May 1 for the bounty of the Lingayen Gulf. “It was also a strategy to market our bangus, which you and I know is the tastiest in the country,” says Edwin Aguirre, festival secretariat head. To Mayor Belen Fernandez, the event has so far achieved just that—to make known to everyone that Dagupan produces the country’s best-tasting bangus.
Grilled bangus (milk fish).
“People know about it already. So, our target now is to sell our bangus, especially in the international market,” Fernandez says. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, industry stakeholders have not aggressively tapped the foreign market despite Dagupan’s reputation as producer of the country’s tastiest bangus. Dagupan produces 17 percent of the province’s total daily production of 16.5 metric tons. But except for some processed bangus brought by traveling residents to the United States and other countries, the city’s main product has not been exported yet. Bangus is processed as boneless, marinated, nuggets, tinapa, lumpia, embutido, relyeno and tocino.
Fernandez says she has organized a bangus development team to make locally grown bangus globally competitive. The team will be in charge of packaging the different bangus products for export. “We are lucky that former Speaker [Jose] de Venecia [Jr.] put up a seafood processing plant here. We might as well maximize its use for our bangus industry,” she says. The processing complex, which was built in 2010 inside the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center compound in Dagupan, has packing, heating and smoking equipment, quick-freeze and ice-making facilities, air showers, sterilizers and other sanitary equipment.
“In five years, I’m looking at bringing the bangus not only to each table of every Dagupeño outside the country but to all residents of other countries,” Fernandez says. Int’l market
This year, among the events in the Bangus Festival is the Bangusine, a cooking demonstration of foreign traditional dishes with bangus as main ingredient. “This event will help a lot because we have many international students here. We have to be more aggressive to be more competitive with the other bangus industry all over the world,” Fernandez says. Aside from packaging bangus for international market, Fernandez says Dagupan has been
aggressive in protecting the industry by making sure that bangus stocks do not go belly up in the city’s ponds. “If you notice, we have demolished the fish pens [in the city’s rivers]. But we still have a few hard-headed ones. We have given them up to the end of April to remove all their fish pens,” she says. “Why are we doing it? Because we want to give back the river to small fishermen. I’m so happy that a few days ago, when I went around the river, there was already an oyster zone put up by small fishermen.” Fernandez says that after the festival, the Department of Public Works and Highways will start dredging the city’s rivers to make their flow faster during the changing tides. Bangus growers say a faster refresh rate in their ponds produces healthier bangus. With cleaner and fish penfree rivers, Fernandez says she is now preparing to return the river cruise, which she now calls “island tours.” “We will bring tourists to the city’s islands. What can they see? Very soon, they will taste maybe the best ‘lapu-lapu’ (grouper) in our place or the best ‘espada’ (swordfish), ‘malaga’ (siganid) and many others,” she says. Dagupan, which is crisscrossed by seven rivers, boasts of island fishing villages facing the Lingayen Gulf. “We still have a lot of work to do and I’m excited about it,” Fernandez says. ■
P-Noy’s plea: Vote for continuity of reforms BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer PRESIDENT AQUINO yesterday urged voters to go for someone who would sustain the reforms he said he had instituted under his term. Mr. Aquino named no particular candidate in his Labor Day speech, which mentioned no minimum wage increase but paraded government programs that supposedly translated to some 2.5 million Filipinos going above the poverty line last year.
He said continuity of reforms would depend on the choice of leaders during the 2016 elections. “If you believe that what we’re doing is right, if you don’t want to waste what we have started under our ‘Righteous Path’ [campaign], let’s choose leaders who would continue and build on the reforms that we have started,” he said in Filipino. “Let us choose deserving leaders so that the widespread transformation that we’re enjoying in society would become permanent.”
Mr. Aquino’s comments came after a Pulse Asia survey made public showed Vice President Jejomar Binay topping the list of prospective presidential candidates. Forty percent of the respondents said they would vote for Binay, while only six percent said they would go for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Roxas is perceived as the likely standard bearer of Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party in the next presidential elections. For the 2010 race, he gave way to then Senator Aquino and agreed to run for vice president. www.canadianinquirer.net
Come from behind
Binay, a longtime Makati City mayor, went on to score a comefrom-behind victory over Roxas, who was also leading in many of the pre-election surveys. Placing second to Binay in the Pulse Asia survey was neophyte Sen. Grace Poe, who garnered 15 percent, followed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago with 10 percent. Next was Sen. Francis Escudero with nine percent, followed by Roxas. In his speech at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Mr. Aquino noted that the num-
ber of Filipinos living under the poverty line went down by three percentage points from the first quarter of 2012 to 2013. “It’s equivalent to 2.5 million Filipinos who are now above the poverty line,” he said. The President took a swipe at public officials who came before him, saying: “Come to think of it, these changes in our country could have been done before.” “But because of leaders who put their personal interests [ahead of the country’s], we were mired in grave poverty and corruption for so long.” ■
MAY 9, 2014
PH tops Asean list of jobless, says ILO BY TINA G. SANTOS Philippine Daily Inquirer THE PHILIPPINES has the highest unemployment rate among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). Based on the ILO Global Employment Trends report published in January, the Philippines registered an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent as of 2013. This is relatively high compared with the rest of the Southeast Asian region. In most of Southeast Asia, the unemployment rate showed a downward trend—from an average of 6 percent between 2000 and 2008 to a projected 4.5 percent in the next few years. Ranking just below Philippines is Indonesia with 6 percent, the study showed. Brunei has 3.7 percent; Burma, 3.5 percent; Malaysia, 3.2 percent; and Singapore, 3.1 percent.
The countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Vietnam, 1.9 percent; Laos, 1.4 percent; Thailand, 0.8 percent; and Cambodia, 0.3 percent. ILO said global unemployment for 2013 reached 202 million, an increase of almost 5 million compared with the year before. In the Philippines, the high unemployment rate will persist as the country has failed to translate the significant improvement in its gross domestic product in the past two years to employment opportunities for its unemployed workers, ILO Director General Guy Ryder said. “Despite robust economic growth in excess of 6.8 percent in the last two years, job growth has been subdued and the unemployment rate has remained at around 7 percent throughout 2012 and 2013,” Ryder said. Declining job quality
The ILO official also noted
the declining quality of employment in developing coun-
He urged developing countries to implement reforms to generate more jobs, particularly for the youth sector, which accounts for most of the
tries, including the Philippines, last year. “In 2013, the number of workers in extreme poverty— living on less than $1.25 a day declined by only 2.7 percent globally, one of the lowest rates over the past decade, with the exception of the immediate crisis years,” Ryder said.
world’s unemployed workers. An estimated 74.5 million workers under the age of 25 are now unemployed. This can be attributed, according to Ryder, to restrictive policies in these countries, such as reductions in public spending and hikes in income and consumption taxes that contin-
ue to hinder job creation. “What is urgently needed is policy rethink. Stronger efforts are needed to accelerate employment creation and to support enterprises that create jobs,” Ryder said. He added that a switch to more employment-friendly policies and rising labor incomes would boost economic growth and job creation. “It is crucial to strengthen social protection floors and promote transitions to formal employment,” he added. The ILO has projected a bleak outlook for employment in the Philippines and other countries this year despite the expected slow improvement in the world economy. Ryder, in a previous statement, said the ILO projected only 200 million new jobs would be created by 2018 worldwide due to weak employment growth in most countries. “This is less than what is required to absorb the growing number of new entrants to the labor market,” he said. ■
7 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
With Ayungin on his mind, P-Noy hails brave Navy men BY NIKKO DIZON Philippine Daily Inquirer SANGLEY POINT, CAVITE—President Aquino yesterday hailed the Philippine Navy for its tenacity in guarding Philippine territories being claimed by China, saying its leaders and sailors did not allow lack in matériel to shirk from their sworn duties. The President made the remarks as the Navy Flag Officer in Command (FOIC), Vice Adm. Jose Luis Alano, relinquished the Navy’s helm to Rear Adm. Jesus Millan at sunset, a Navy tradition. Alano turns 56 today, the mandatory retirement age in the military. “Today, we are surrounded by brave Filipinos. Every time we talk about the courage and dedication of our Philippine Navy, one of the first things I think of are the Marines deployed in Ayungin Shoal to guard our territory,” Mr. Aquino said in Filipino. He mentioned anew how the nine Marine soldiers led by Lt. Mike Pelotera were forced to stay at the BRPSierra Madre for nearly five months because the ship that carried the troops that were supposed to replace them was “repeatedly blocked by foreign vessels.” He did not mention China. nd “It was like they were driving us away from the territory that is really ours,” Mr. Aquino said.
President Benigno S. Aquino III, aboard the BRP Emilio Jacinto, leads the Fleet Review en-route to the Philippine Navy (PN) Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony of Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano at the Capt. Salvo Pier in Sangley Point, Cavite City on Wednesday (April 30). PHOTO BY GIL NARTEA/ MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU
The President lauded the Navy officers and sailors who commandeered the ship that was blocked by the Chinese Coast Guard on March 29 for not allowing themselves to be intimidated and for not turning back. The mission was able to bring a fresh batch of Marine soldiers to the Sierra Madre, finally relieving Pelotera and his men after 138 days at sea. The President vowed that the days when the military, including the Navy, had been ignored, were over. “We will end the era in our history
where you perform your tasks through sheer heart and wit. We will push for the modernization and upgrading of the capabilities of the Armed Forces,” Mr. Aquino said. Crisis after crisis
He placed full trust in the leadership of Millan, the 34th FOIC, saying he expected the new Navy chief to continue
the programs that were started by Alano to harness the Navy’s capabilities. The President praised Alano for the hard work he showed for nearly 14 months as the Navy chief, dealing with one crisis after the another, and more importantly, ensuring the constant patrol of Philippine territory, particularly the West Philippine Sea. Millan told the INQUIRER in a phone interview that he would continue the programs spearheaded by Alano and other Navy chiefs before him under the Navy Sail Plan. The plan is designed to build a Philippine Navy “that is more responsive” to both its traditional duties of territorial defense and new security challenges, such as climate change. As the Armed Forces of the Philippines shifts from internal security operations to its mandate to address external threats, the Navy needs to be developed with the Army and Air Force, Millan said. “Under the total force concept, which is the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan, we have to work together to respond to the many challenges we are facing. The Navy is developing its capabilities to respond to the many maritime security issues and emerging security challenges,” he said. ■
THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION leaders put
Labor President“Stand on the spot Strong:
Let Nothing Move you!”
BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA At one point during the dialogue at 1 Corinthians 15:58(ERV) Philippine Daily Inquirer Heroes Hall, the President appealed to the labor representatives: “Please don’t 10:30am; getMay mad at11, me 2014 because I’m really trying DISMAYED LABOR leaders yesterday to beWestwood fair.” Best Western Inn besieged President Aquino withPlain ques- Rd, Mr. Aquino said he would 18035 Stony Edmonton, AB T5Shave 1B2to tions on how his administration would check if granting a tax break to a par780-993-JRAM (5726) concretely address key issues confront- ticular sector would violate the Constiing the sector and sought tax breaks and tution, “when it comes to uniformity of Regular Sunday Services: lower power rates during a candid dia- taxes.” Edmonton West (10:30am-12:00pm) Best Western Westwood Inn logue in Malacañang. “But I will pledge before allChurch, of you that Edmonton North (3:00pm-5:00pm) Gateway Alliance With his Cabinet present, the Presiwe want to maximize the benefits that 13931 140 St, Edmonton dent was put on theSt. spot over(4:00pm-5:30pm) Revenue will accrue to you. AndSt. how do we go Albert 60 Liberton Drive Albert Commissioner Kim Henares’ refusal not about it? Give us a little bit more time,” to tax wage increases obtained through a he pleaded. collective bargaining agreement. On the workers’ demand for lower “We really are disappointed with power rates and a stable supply, the Commissioner Kim Henares,” said President said he might announce “a bit Joshua Mata, secretary general of the of good news” soon but declined to proAlliance of Progressive Labor, adding vide details. that the demand for tax breaks was not “Are we in a crisis situation right now? about de minimis [small] benefits. We can be, but I don’t think we are in “We’re just saying, ‘Is there a way the that crisis mode yet. There is still a resalary increase minimum-wage earners serve,” he said, citing ongoing projects receive through their union efforts will to ensure enough power in the years to not be taxed?’” come. ■
THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION “Stand strong: Let nothing move you!” 1 Corinthians 15:58
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MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 8
PH off US list of piracy hot spots after 20 years BY AMY R. REMO Philippine Daily Inquirer
Janet Lim-Napoles . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
DOTC scam... “I was no longer a congressman then. So why were the funds released? I repeat: Not a single centavo of my PDAF has been set aside through the DOTC,” said Padilla. ❰❰ 3
Padilla’s claim of fraud appears to be supported by partial Commission on Audit (COA) findings during the period. In March 2005, the COA’s provincial auditor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gave credence to the claim by Mayor Abdulsali Asmadun of Lugus, Sulu, that he never received any communication equipment worth P13.372 million from the DOTC. Asmadun told the COA that his signature on the acknowledgment receipt presented by the DOTC was forged and that this was “intended to deceive and cause further problems in the future.” Both the mayor and the COA provincial auditor called on the COA central office to investigate the ghost delivery.
wrong barangay captain while the real chief denied having received any equipment from the DOTC. More than a decade after these ghost deliveries, the COA has yet to come out with a full fraud audit report on the ghost deliveries of P407 million worth of computer and communication equipment. Aside from Villar and Padilla, the other lawmakers noted as recipients of the DOTC computers were former Senators Tessie Aquino-Oreta (an aunt of the President), Robert Jaworski and the late Robert Barbers (who died in December 2005); former Representatives Zenaida Ducut of Pampanga (currently chair of the Energy Regulatory Commission); Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II and former MalabonNavotas Rep. Felipe Sandoval II; and former Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo (who was given the computers during his term as Pampanga vice governor). Maglanque has not answered calls and texts from the INQUIRER.
THE PHILIPPINES has finally been stricken off the United States’ list of piracy hot spots after being on the watch list for the past 20 years, indicating the successful enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights in the country. In a statement dated April 28, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said the Philippines was removed from the Special 301 Watch List, as the country was able to enact a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines.” The announcement, which was made two days before the scheduled release date of the Special 301 Watch List (April 30), coincided with the two-day visit of US President Obama to the Philippines. According to the USTR, Philippine authorities have made laudable civil and administrative enforcement gains. Although significant challenges remain, the commitment of Philippine authorities and the results achieved merit this change in status. “The United States will continue to engage with the Philippines to address unresolved and future challenges,” the statement further read.
COA documents requested More ghost deliveries
In June 2006, then barangay captain Romanito D. Verecio denied receiving P4.925 million worth of computers from the DOTC in 2003. In March 2007, the COA Visayas cluster reported that documents showing P6 million worth of computers were delivered by the DOTC to Barangay Baybay, Makato, Aklan, in 2003 were erroneous and fraudulent. The invoice receipt had the
Michael Sagcal, a spokesperson for the DOTC, yesterday said that the department has requested documents from the COA so it can “review the processes conducted and how the projects were implemented.” He said the DOTC had communicated this request to the COA “in the middle” of 2013 but so far the department has yet to receive the documents. “We will follow this up so we can settle the matter,” he added. ■ www.canadianinquirer.net
Ricardo R. Blancaflor, director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said in a text message that he welcomed the USTR decision. He said the holistic approach by the interagency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) had proven to be “very effective in curbing piracy and fighting counterfeits.” “Enforcement is only the beginning in building respect for intellectual property. The Philippines reinforces its position as the country that champions intellectual property enforcement in the Asean region,” Blancaflor said. He noted that only two countries were removed from the watch list this year—the Philippines and Israel. “In the Asean region: Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei are not on the 301 Watchlist. This is a distinct comparative advantage because US trading partners are very strong on IP protection,” Blancaflor said. “For instance, we have more American trademarks registered in the country than any other country. American investments in the Philippines should also increase because the investors will feel secure that their technology will not be copied,” he added. The USTR has created a socalled “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List” under the Special 301 provisions. A trad-
ing country’s placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List means that particular problems exist in the country or economy with respect to intellectual property rights protection, enforcement or market access for persons relying on intellectual property. Trading partners on the Priority Watch List would become the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas. The Philippines first appeared on either the Watch List or Priority Watch List in 1989 and had since been on the list since 1994. Notorious markets
Earlier this year, the country was also removed from the US Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2013, which “identified markets around the world that harm American businesses and undermine our workers, through the infringement of intellectual property rights.” The review identified online and physical marketplaces engaging in commercial-scale intellectual property rights infringement. The Philippines has been aggressively implementing measures and initiatives that will ensure the rightful protection of intellectual property rights in the country. In the first quarter of the year, goods seized by law enforcement agencies under the NCIPR reached P6.2 billion, surpassing by almost 80 percent those seized in the same period in 2013. The total value of the s e i z e d goods last year was P7.8 billion. ■
9 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Mayday: No pay hike for workers BY TINA G. SANTOS AND KRISTINE FELISSE MANGUNAY Philippine Daily Inquirer YES, THERE will be job fairs galore. But no, workers will get neither a wage increase nor nonwage benefits today, Labor Day, but there are many job opportunities in the country and abroad, according to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. The 2014 Labor Day celebration carries the theme “Sa Sipag, Tiyaga, at Talino, Buong Mundo Saludo sa Manggagawang Pilipino.”
“We’re not expecting any minimum wage increase announcement,” said Baldoz in a press briefing on Wednesday. She explained that minimum wage adjustments were decided upon by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards. She noted that the law prohibited the wage board from issuing successive wage orders
within a year unless there was a “supervening condition,” or abrupt and sustained increases in the prices of oil, food and other essential commodities. “As of now, we do not see any supervening conditions that would warrant a wage adjustment,” Baldoz said. Look to noncash benefits
Even nonwage benefits are not expected to be given to workers during today’s celebration.
Baldoz said there were no nonwage benefits that were considered during President Aquino’s dialogue with labor leaders on Tuesday. “Noncash benefits can come either from the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance or Pag-Ibig.
They could avail themselves of that,” she said. Job fairs
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is holding simultaneous jobs fairs today across the country. There are currently 3 million unemployed Filipinos, and 7 million underemployed, according to Baldoz. She said improving hiring rates was possible because the DOLE and its regional offices had announced early and extensively their job fair schedules using all available media. In the 2013 Labor Day job fairs, out of the 127,880 registered job seekers, a total of 20,905 applicants were hired on the spot and 96,838 qualified. Baldoz said the DOLE had remained consistent with its annual target of 15-percent hired on-the-spot out of the total number of qualified applicants. Over 100,000 overseas and local jobs are available in the simultaneous job fairs that the DOLE will hold nationwide as part of the Labor Day celebration today. “Through the job fairs, we hope to give workers the service they deserve by fast-tracking the matching of job seekers and employers, particularly in identified areas where skills are highly in demand,” Baldoz said. A labor coalition group, Nagkaisa, chided Mr. Aquino for continuing to dishonor workers on Labor Day by failing to
respond to important issues raised by labor representatives during their dialogue on Tuesday. “President Aquino continues to ignore for four years the issues that we believe would help impact the plight of the working people. Workers are feeling deprived of the benefits due them despite their great contribution to improving the economy,” Nagkaisa said in a statement. “Since assuming the presidency in 2010, Mr. Aquino is always being remembered by workers in every Labor Day memorial as a leader who has abandoned and failed them at the critical moment when they needed his leadership in view of growing joblessness, rising cost of living, rampant and unfettered precarious work arrangement, high cost of electricity rate and by conceding social protection services to greedy capitalists,” the group added. Protest march
Nagkaisa said it would mobilize 30,000 members for a march from Welcome Rotonda to Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) in today’s Labor Day commemoration. Other groups gearing up for major protests today include the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) in their protest agenda, even as they vowed to elevate constitutional issues arising from the defense agreement between the Philippines and the United States to the Supreme Court that was signed onMonday. “Definitely, (we will also include Edca) because that’s an issue of the people, not just of government,” said Ferdinand Gaite, national president of Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage). Courage is a member of the Makabayan bloc, a coalition of progressive party-list groups in
the House of Representatives that also participates in antigovernment rallies. Apart from condemning Edca, Gaite said the groups would push for a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay of government employees, and a P125 across-the-board wage increase for the private sector. “We are also against the privatization of government agencies,” he said. 5 converging points
He said there were five converging points—Recto in Manila and Monumento in Caloocan, for example—for those participating in the protests. “And we will march toward Liwasang Bonifacio, where a program will be held to highlight [those issues],” he said. He said the groups would then march to Mendiola, where they would stay until 5 p.m. Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said today’s protests would condemn Mr. Aquino for continuing to implement his cheap labor policy and for signing the Edca. The group said workers would call for the immediate junking of the Edca and the Charter change scheme that goes with the agreement, as well as the immediate implementation of a P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers. Noynoy mural
A mural of Mr. Aquino will be used as backdrop for the program at Liwasang Bonifacio and Chino Roces Bridge, while an effigy named “Noynoy Puppetnoid” will be paraded and burned during the demonstration, KMUsaid. KMU said protests would also be held in other parts of the country such as Cordillera, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Cebu, Panay, southern Mindanao and Caraga. ■
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 10
Red Cross looking for land for Revilla aide asks SC ‘Yolanda’ victims’ homes to stop Ombudsman BY NIÑA P. CALLEJA Philippine Daily Inquirer
BY JEROME C. ANING Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Building “better” houses for the families displaced by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last November remains a challenge for the senior officials of the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement who were in Manila for a two-day meeting on the long-term recovery plan for the devastated areas in the Visayas. “The problem is to find land on which we could build,” Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chair Richard Gordon told a news conference on Thursday. Gordon, a former senator, said the PRC was relying on efforts of the government to find land for its housing program. So far, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement have raised 300 million Swiss francs (P15 billion) for the project. Gordon said the National Housing Authority had identified 50 hectares of land that could be a location for the PRC houses for the typhoon survivors. He said that after finding land for the project, the international organizations helping in the recovery efforts must build better houses that could withstand winds up to 250 kilometers per hour. “We would like to build homes that we think can withstand [powerful typhoons but
MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Lawyer Richard Cambe, Sen. Bong Revilla’s chief of staff, has asked the Supreme Court to stop the Office of the Ombudsman from prosecuting him for plunder in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. In a 29-page petition, Cambe insisted that he had nothing to do with the scam, adding that his signatures in the documents for the projects funded by Revilla’s PDAF— from which the senator allegedly received kickbacks—were all forgeries. Cambe also said his right to due process was violated because he had not been given a chance to contest the Commission on Audit’s (COA) findings on PDAF anomalies involving him and the senator. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, therefore, should not have recommended his indictment for plunder, which is a nonbailable offense. The lawyer asked the high court to nullify the Ombudsman’s joint order issued on March 14, which found probable cause to charge him with one count of plunder and 16 counts of violation of the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act. He accused Morales of committing grave abuse of discretion when she issued the joint order and denied his motion to suspend proceedings at the Ombudsman’s field investigation office and the National Bureau of Investigation without allegedly even reading it. Cambe alleged that the Ombudsman did not read his motion and, furthermore, tackled and resolved issues that he did not even raised. The lawyer said the notices of disallowances that Revilla’s office had received from the COA have not yet become final and executory. He noted that under the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines “any person aggrieved by the decision of an auditor of any government agency in the settlement of an account
Philippine Red Cross Chair Richard Gordon Gordon said the National Housing Authority had identified 50 hectares of land that could be a location for the PRC houses for the typhoon survivors. PHOTO BY RICHARD WHITCOMBE / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
are not] exorbitant [in price],” Gordon said, adding that each house will cost P250,000. He said the PRC planned to build at least 30,000 houses for the typhoon survivors. The PRC intends to complete the housing project before the end of the year, but Gordon said that would be impossible because of the long typhoon season. In the meantime, Gordon said the survivors would be staying in temporary shelters that the Red Cross had provided them. Gordon said the PRC would follow the “no-build zone” policy of the Aquino administration for areas within 40 meters of shorelines. With Gordon at the news conference was Jagan Chapagain, director of the International Federation of Red Cross, the world’s largest humanitar-
ian network. “The challenges are enormous. It will take a couple of years for the recovery. It will not be a quick solution,” Chapagain said. A Red Cross assessment of the typhoon-ravaged areas found that poverty is delaying recovery. The assessment team recommended a focus on shelter and livelihood for greater impact. “Communities have shown extraordinary resolve in rebuilding their lives after this disaster, which has decimated thousands of livelihood,” said Alain Aeschlimann, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ head of operations for the Asia-Pacific region. “We are seeking to help the most vulnerable, often located in more remote, inaccessible areas where aid does not always easily reach them,” he said. ■
Graft raps vs Arroyo, son junked BY CYNTHIA D. BALANA Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES—The Ombudsman has dismissed the complaint for graft and plunder filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo, in connection with the Libmanan-Cabusao Dam and Skybridge 1 and 2 projects in Camarines Sur. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved on April 22 the recommendation of its
Field Investigation Office (FIO) to terminate the case as the evidence did not warrant criminal charges against the Arroyos. In a 28-page investigation report, the FIO said there was no evidence to show the Arroyos actively participated in the planning or implementation of the projects. It said funding for the Libmanan-Cabusao Dam and Skybridge 1 and 2 projects did not come from the President’s Social Fund or Representative Arroyo’s Priority Development Assistance Fund, but was an in-
frastructure project of the National Irrigation Administration and Department of Public Works and Highways. Thus there was no proof the respondents amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth directly or through their subordinates in the NIA and DPWH as both projects were funded through the regular budget of the respective agencies. Nor was there evidence to show the Arroyos demanded and received the amount of not less than P50 million as “SOP” from the projects. ■ www.canadianinquirer.net
or claim may within six months appeal in writing to the COA.” A final and executory order from COA, he said, was needed before the NBI and the Ombudsman could file the complaints. Without such order, the charges “are dismissible for being premature or at the very least the proceedings should be suspended pending finality of the notices of disallowance,” Cambe said. The lawyer also recounted that the complaint stemmed from the audit findings of the COA, which allegedly revealed that the PDAF of Revilla from 2007 to 2009 amounting to P517 million was released to the Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Livelihood and Development Corp. (NLDC) and National Agri-Business Corp. (Nabcor) The three implementing agencies allegedly transferred the PDAF releases to phony nongovernment organizations (NGOs) allegedly set up by suspected PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. On Sept. 16, 2013, the NBI filed a complaint to the Ombudsman charging Revilla, in alleged conspiracy with Cambe and other individuals, with plunder for supposedly receiving P224 million in commissions from PDAF projects. On Jan. 14, the petitioner said Revilla’s office received from COA four notices of disallowance involving certain amounts released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to TRC under Special Allotment Release Order (Saro). On Feb. 14, Revilla’s office again received eight notices of disallowance involving certain amounts released by DBM to NLDC under Saro. Cambe said he had six months to appeal the disallowance reckoned and he intended to do so since he was not involved in the scam. The lawyer said the filing of the administrative or criminal action against him should happen only if he failed to comply with the COA order of execution with finality. Revilla has also filed in the Supreme Court a pleading similar to Cambe’s but the high tribunal has yet to act on it. ■
11 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
De Lima... “I will appeal to them to wait for the proper time and give me enough space to discharge my mandated tasks with utmost responsibility,” she said. Following the five-hour meeting with Napoles at Ospital ng Makati, De Lima announced that the businesswoman had offered to turn state witness in a “tellall” conversation because she said she had been getting death threats. De Lima said she had her execute and sign an affidavit containing her account of the alleged scam. Asked during the nationally televised news conference if Napoles had implicated Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, De Lima said, “Yes, absolutely.” The three senators were indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman on April 1 for plunder in connection with the alleged P10-billion scam. Two days after De Lima’s disclosure, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson told reporters that the Napoles family had given him an unsigned affidavit, about a third of a ream of bond paper thick, giving the names of former and current members of the Senate, enough, he said, to constitute a quorum. Sandra Cam, the president of the Whistle-blowers Association of the Philippines, claimed she also had a list of senators involved in the alleged diversion of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects carried out by dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by Napoles. At least one newspaper has published a purported list of 13 senators allegedly involved in the racket involving state funds intended to ease rural poverty. The night after her meeting with De ❰❰ 1
3 Ways to Buy a Home for Less Money Lima, the 51-year-old Napoles underwent surgery for a cancerous ovary. She had been confined in the hospital for nearly a month for a procedure medical experts said required treatment for several days. In a report to the Makati City Regional Trial Court, Dr. Florentina Villanueva, head of the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecological department, said Napoles would be discharged when her blood sugar stabilizes and after she gets clearance from her endoctrinologist. De Lima said National Bureau of Investigation agents had been visiting Napoles to ask clarificatory questions on the affidavit she gave the Secretary during their meeting last month. Napoles had been detained at the antiterrorist training camp at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, on charges of serious illegal detention of her former aide, Benhur Luy, who had turned whistle-blower. She had surrendered to President Aquino in August last year, saying she feared for her life. ‘I cannot be pressured’
In her text message to reporters on Monday, De Lima said she preferred that the Senate not use its prerogative to cite in contempt persons invited to legislative inquiries. She stressed that she wanted to divulge the contents of the list “in due time” and after she had verified the claims of Napoles, who had vehemently claimed in an appearance before the Senate blue ribbon committee last November she knew nothing about the pork barrel scam. “I already said that I cannot be pressured to release the list at this point. I will do so in due time, i.e., upon completion of the Napoles statement and the vetting process,” De Lima added.
Asked during the nationally televised news conference if Napoles had implicated Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, De Lima said, “Yes, absolutely.” PHOTO FROM SOLARNEWS.PH
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The secretary also refused to comment on claims by Sandra Cam that Senate President Franklin Drilon and the administration Liberal Party were trying to silence her. “Sorry, I don’t intend to react to that,” De Lima said. She earlier expressed doubts about claims by several people that they, too, have a list of pork barrel scam suspects. De Lima claimed such people might be part of a plot to pressure her to divulge the list she got from Napoles. The Office of the Ombudsman has announced that there was sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of plunder charges in the Sandiganbayan against Napoles, Enrile, Estrada, Revilla and six other people in connection with the PDAF racket. The senators have denied wrongdoing. Enrile couldn’t care less
At the resumption of the Senate session on Monday, Enrile said he couldn’t care less about the lists implicating more senators in the racket. “It doesn’t matter to me whether they have a list or no list. It’s all the same,” Enrile curtly told reporters at Monday’s resumption of the Senate session. He declined to answer other questions on the scam. “For the truth to come out, they should release it. They have already shown it. Might as well tell the people. The truth should come out,” Revilla told reporters when asked about the De Lima list. Revilla lamented that while the government had been quick to “persecute” him, Enrile and Estrada, it had been dilly-dallying in releasing the list. “Let’s hope and pray that the truth will come out,” he said. Estrada offered a different take on the purported incriminating list. “They might be sanitizing it. I do not know why they are keeping it from the public,” he told reporters. Revilla shrugged off an online petition urging him, Enrile and Estrada to resign. “Let’s wait when we’re judged guilty. From the start, we’ve aired our sentiments, and left everything up to God. Whatever the judgment is, I will accept.
But spare us from trial by publicity; have pity on our families,” he said. Estrada also belittled the petition. “That’s been circulating a long time ago. Those who voted for me were 18 million Filipinos, and I cannot abandon them,” he said. Otherwise, he would wait for the final court ruling. Courts best venue
Commenting on the online petition, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the courts would still be the best venue to hear the complaint against his colleagues. He said the Senate ethics committee would have been the appropriate body to tackle the complaint against the three senators, if the Ombudsman did not look into it. “The easiest way and the fairest way is for the Ombudsman to file the case, and they will be automatically suspended and a warrant of arrest will be issued,” he said. Cayetano also challenged Napoles to make good her promise to tell everything she knew about the alleged misuse of the Malampaya Fund, in addition to the PDAF scam. “Why doesn’t she just come here and tell all? I’m a little bit cautious in believing someone who never told us the truth in the past. My advice to her: ‘Just do it,’” he said. At the same, Cayetano wondered why Napoles had not been detained in a regular jail. “There are powerful people behind her. Who they are, I don’t know,” he said. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III earlier said De Lima should disclose the Napoles list of culprits as soon as possible because not doing so would put everybody in Congress “under suspicion” and it would be “brutally unfair.” Cayetano and Sen. Francis Escudero also joined calls for the release of the list, citing transparency and accountability. Osmeña, Cayetano and Escudero also made the same call to Lacson, the presidential assistant on rehabilitation and recovery in typhoon-devastated Eastern Visayas. ■
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 12
Masbate blast fishermen now ‘reef rangers’ 3 Pinoys feared to
BY SHIENA M. BARRAMEDA Philippine Daily Inquirer TURNING THEIR backs on their wrongdoing that almost destroyed the marine ecosystem around them, members of the Samahan ng Mangingisda ng Puro-Sinalikway (Samapusi) are now protectors of the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and the Pawa Mangrove Ecosystem and Wildlife Park, the two marine gems of Masbate City. Since 2001, Samapusi, composed of erstwhile dynamite fishers, has been involved in taking care of and acting as tour guides at the vast marine sanctuary and mangrove forests, according to its president, Romeo Soria Jr. Soria, 38, said the members started to rehabilitate the sanctuary they once almost drove to destruction after they were educated by then Mayor Socrates Tuason and personnel from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) of the damage that dynamite fishing inflicted upon the environment. Through weekly seminars and forums, they came to realize how important Buntod’s reef and mangroves are to them, he said. Before they became deeply involved with the government in efforts to conserve wildlife, the city government provided them with livelihood assistance in the form of motorized boats, fishnets, hook-and-line gear and other fishing facilities, Soria said. They gave up explosives in exchange, he added. When they were not on duty as tour/reef guides, they spend their time fishing outside the 234.54-hectare sanctuary or transplanting corals and conserving seagrass to further enrich the marine ecosystem of Buntod Reef. Sea cucumbers
They engage in “sea ranching,” which involves the propagation of sea cucumbers they buy from other fishermen in the 51.54-ha core zone of the sanctuary in order to add life and color into the scuba diving and snorkeling experiences of tourists. “We put the sea cucumbers inside small cages in the coral reefs until they are old enough
BY TINA G. SANTOS Philippine Daily Inquirer
A boy shows a live giant clam (Tridacna gigas) near the shoreline of Buntod Island in Masbate City. PHOTOS BY MARK ALVIC ESPLANA
to be released,” Soria said. “We transplant corals from the waters outside the marine sanctuary into the reefs in order to increase the population of corals. We conserve seagrass from places where it is exposed to erosion by transferring them to more stable areas.” Members of Samapusi also clean up the mangrove forests in Buntod and Pawa every day in order to further care for some 200 propagules they planted there, he said. Aside from repopulating the reef, Samapusi engaged four months ago in abalone culture to provide another source of income to its 33 members and their families. Abalone is a marine gastropod mollusk or very large edible sea snails which are used in Chinese cuisines and are valued at P200 to P380 per kilo. Tourists’ safety
Chandyllane Cantre, ecotourism enterprise development assistant of Masbate Cenro’s Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project, said the fishermen underwent training for them to become “reef rangers.” Samapusi members are also trained in Water Search and Rescue (Wasar) to provide safety for tourists, she said. Joseph Belda, a Samapusi member, was able to use his Wasar skills when he rescued June Paolo Abrazado, the aide of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who was the lone surivor when the light aircraft carrying Robredo and
three others met its doom at Masbate Bay in August 2012. Aside from repopulating the marine sanctuary, Samapusi is tasked with protecting it from illegal fishers. The group was deputized by the city government and given the power to perform arrests with the help of Bantay Dagat and the Philippine Maritime Authority. Rizaldo Radaza, 48, a Samapusi member, said that becoming a part of the reef rangers of Buntod brought the community extra income. With his job as reef guide to tourists, Radaza has upped his P300 income from fishing a day to around P1,100. Recognition Due to Samapusi’s efforts, Cantre said the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary was named the second most resilient marine reserve site to climate change in central Philippines in an assessment conducted by Silliman University professors. The Bungsayon Marine Reserve, which is along the Masbate Pass, got the first slot as the most resilient marine reserve to climate change, according to the assessment conducted in 2011. Samapusi was also named one of the seven Inang Kalikasan Award recipients in 2013 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Cantre said. The efforts in the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary became a factor in Masbate City’s triumph in the Galing Pook Awards given by Galing Pook Foundation in 2012, she added. ■ www.canadianinquirer.net
MANILA, PHILIPPINES—Local authorities are still validating reports three more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East had contracted the dreaded Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). “Our officials are constantly coordinating with health authorities there to determine and monitor the condition of our OFWs,” said administrator Carmelita Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in a media forum on Tuesday. A report over the weekend said at least three more Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia had contracted MERS-CoV. One of them is reportedly in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Riyadh. The three are supposedly among the 14 new MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia, which include seven in Jeddah, four in Riyadh and three in Mecca. Dimzon said the Owwa had intensified its information and health education drives in the Middle East to explain MERSCoV to OFWs. “For those preparing to leave the Philippines, we have included MERS-CoV health education in our predeparture orientation seminars,” she said. The Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corp., meanwhile, are finalizing a benefit package for PhilHealth members who may be infected with MERS-CoV. Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, emerging infectious diseases program manager, said PhilHealth, the government’s social health insurance plan, would shoulder the cost of laboratory tests for patients.
The laboratory test to determine if a person is infected with MERS-CoV costs P5,000. The patient may also need to be confined in a health facility while awaiting the results. The government has so far spent over P2 million to track, test and monitor all 414 passengers of Etihad Airlines flight EY 0424 on April 15 who had traveled with a male Filipino nurse who tested positive for MERSCoV while in the United Arab Emirates. Tests conducted on the nurse after he arrived in the Philippines came up negative for the virus. Lee Suy said the country remained MERS-CoV-free amid the ongoing contact-tracing efforts of the DOH. He said 400 of the 414 passengers had tested negative for MERS-CoV. “They have been tested and the results are negative…we’re still MERS-CoV-free, as of now,” he said. Lee Suy said the rest of the passengers were either awaiting their results or were scheduled to undergo testing. He, however, advised the public to remain vigilant against the disease. “We cannot be complacent in dealing with the threat of MERS-CoV. Several thousand OFWs arrive in and leave the Philippines daily. The threat is always there. We have to be vigilant. The cooperation of communities is very important in order to ensure the MERS-CoV threat does not turn into a bigger threat,” Lee Suy said. MERS-CoV is a communicable disease that may be spread through close contact with a positive carrier. ■
13 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Int’l ‘sextortion’ ring busted Youth’s suicide in Scotland leads to arrests of 58 people in 7 PH areas BY MARLON RAMOS Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES—The suicide of 17-year-old British mechanic Daniel Perry in July last year led police to an international cybercrime syndicate based in the Philippines, and the eventual arrest of 58 people allegedly involved in “sextortion,” the Philippine National Police said on Friday. “The Police Scotland investigators conducted a digital forensic examination of Perry’s computers and found that he had been a victim of extortionists,” said Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG). “They were able to trace the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the online accounts of the syndicate members to the Philippines,” he added. The multination operation, dubbed “Strike Back,” was carried out with the assistance of the US Homeland Security and the police authorities of the United Kingdom, Scotland, Hong Kong and Singapore. In simultaneous raids on Wednesday, agents of the PNP and the International Police (Interpol) swooped down on the
syndicate’s “call centers” located in the Bicol region, Laguna and Bulacan provinces and Taguig City, arrested 58 people, and seized more than 250 laptops, computers, mobile phones, identification cards, documents, storage devices, credit and automated teller machine cards, pornographic materials, cameras and closed-circuit TV cameras. During Wednesday’s coordinated operations, a team of ACG personnel led by Senior Supt. Elmo Sarona raided the office of Money Maker Portal Web Solutions in Naga City, Money Magnet Portal Web Solutions in Libmanan town, Camarines Sur province, Money Builder Web Marketing Solutions in Nabua town, Camarines Sur, and Mocha Bytes Web Solutions in Legazpi City. ‘To identify other victims’
The operations in Laguna and Taguig led by Senior Supt. Bernard Yang and other Interpol agents netted men who were allegedly responsible for “sextortion” activities among victims in the United Kingdom, according to PNP Director General Alan Purisima. Arrested in the two locations were Vincent Regori Bravo, Jomar Palacio and Gian Tolin.
Joker makes fun of Obama’s visit: What did PH get? Zero BY NORMAN BORDADORA AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer AT THE VERY least, former Sen. Joker Arroyo says in signing a new defense arrangement he expected US President Barack Obama to warn China not to harass Filipino fishermen or the resupply and rotation mission for a rusting vessel serving as Philippine garrison to avoid armed confrontation. “What did we get in exchange? Heaping shibboleths on America’s ‘longest ally.’ President Obama also praised the culinary skills of the White House Filipino Executive Chef,” Arroyo said in a statement yesterday. “It was hoped that he would say, at least, that in case Filipino fishermen and Navy supplies go to the disputed islands and the China Maritime Fleet fires at or harasses them, America will strongly caution China so that we don’t get embroiled in a shooting war,” he said. Arroyo said the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should look into the 1914
War Plan Orange No. III prepared by the US War Department. “It outlines America’s defense of the Philippines in case it is invaded,” Arroyo said. When Japan invaded the Philippines after it attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States “followed exactly the strategy outlined by the US War Department,” he said. “There was, in fact, no strategy for the defense of the Philippines except to treat us as a buffer to delay the invader’s southward advance. It saved Australia but not the Philippines,” Arroyo said. Arroyo said this information was unearthed in the research of the Civil Liberties Union—that had as its officers nationalist stalwarts like the late Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tañada, JBL Reyes, Calixto Zaldivar and J. Antonio Araneta—which opposed the extension of the US military bases in the Philippines which was to expire in 1977 during the martial law years. “Bottom line—what did the Philippines get out of the Obama visit? Zero,” said Arroyo, 87, a human rights lawyer who served two terms—12 years in the Senate. ■
In Barangay (village) Muzon, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, another team of ACG operatives headed by Senior Supt. Arnold Gunnacao arrested Aldrin Villamonte, Jemuel Matuguina and Emuross de la Cruz. Sosa said the seized digital evidence “will be analyzed by the forensic team of the PNP-ACG with the help of experts from other countries to identify any additional victims and for follow-up investigations.” Perry begging extortionists
In a news briefing at Camp Crame, Purisima said the operation “provided the opportunity for informationsharing and continuous collaboration, cooperation and coordination among our international and local partners in cracking down on cybercrime around the globe.” Sosa said the illegal operations of the syndicate were uncovered after investigators of Police Scotland sought the PNP’s assistance in looking into the suicide of British teenager Perry. Perry, a resident of Dunfermline, Fife, in Scotland, jumped to his death from the Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh
on July 15, 2013, after being victimized by Internet con artists. “The investigators saw the exchanges between the victim and the syndicate members. Perry was begging the extortionists not to release his [sex] videos because he did not have money. But the syndicate kept demanding money from him,” Sosa said. Ask.fm website
Perry’s problem started when he met a woman on the website ask.fm with whom he engaged in online chat conversations a few months before he committed suicide. Believing his chat mate was a woman, Perry was tricked into doing sexual acts before his computer, which were recorded by the syndicate members without his knowledge. “The sextortionists then started to blackmail Perry,” Sosa said. “They warned that they would upload his embarrassing videos on the Internet if he did not give them money,” he added. The scammers also sent threatening messages to the victim. One such mes❱❱ PAGE 14 Int’l ‘sextortion’
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MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 14
US, Filipino... two weeks of military exercises Monday to prepare to jointly deal with any potential crisis in the Philippines, which is prone to natural disasters and has been locked in a dangerous territorial standoff with China. U.S. and Philippine military officials said at an opening ceremony that 3,000 Filipino soldiers and 2,500 American military personnel would take part in the annual “Balikatan,” or shoulder to shoulder, exercises, the largest of several military drills the allies stage each year. American and Philippine officials said the manoeuvrs would focus on maritime security and disaster response, but avoided linking the war games with their concern over China, which they have criticized for its increasingly assertive behaviour in disputed South China Sea territories. The Philippines, the oldest of Washington’s five defence treaty allies in Asia, has turned to the U.S. to modernize its illequipped military amid the increasingly tense territorial rifts with China. Dozens of left-wing activists protested outside the main military camp in the Philippine capital, Manila, where the opening ceremony was held. They said the drills and a recently signed agreement that allows a larger U.S. military presence in the country would violate the Philippine Constitution, which prohibits foreign troops except when their presence is covered by a treaty. Australia deployed 65 army soldiers and air force personnel to participate in live-fire manoeuvrs and charity activities. It also deployed a P3 Orion aircraft for a surveillance exercise with U.S. and Philippine military counterparts, Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Nicholas Pratt said. ❰❰ 1
Australia has signed an agreement with the Philippines that allows its forces to hold military exercises with Filipino troops in the country, the only other such pact Manila has signed aside from the United States. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the exercises would strengthen the countries’ capability to deal with increasing tensions “due to excessive and expansive maritime and territorial claims” and “aggressive patterns of behaviour” that threaten regional peace and stability. The exercises will be held in military camps in the northern and western Philippines, including in Zambales and Palawan provinces on the edge of the South China Sea. The manoeuvrs will include maritime surveillance exercises, live-fire drills, training on handling bombs and “mass casualty response,” a Philippine military statement said. China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in potentially oil- and gas-rich areas in the busy South China Sea, with Beijing laying claim to virtually the entire body of water. The territorial spats between Beijing and Manila have worsened after Chinese government ships effectively gained control of the disputed Scarborough Shoal in 2012 then blockaded the Second Thomas Shoal, where Philippine marines have been based on a grounded navy ship since 1999. Chinese coast guard ships have twice attempted to block Philippine ships bringing in food and fresh batches of marines to Second Thomas Shoal, increasing tensions. A Philippine military plane dropped food supplies and letters from Filipino supporters to the marines marooned at the Second Thomas Shoal over the weekend. ■
U.S. Marine Col. John Rutherford, 2nd from R, and Philippine Army Maj. Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye, 3rd from R, unfurl the joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise flag at Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Manila, Philippines, on May 5, 2014. PHOTO FROM VOANEWS.COM
Int’l ‘sextortion...’ sage read: “You need to let a blade meet your throat.” Another said: “Kill yourself, mate.” ❰❰ 13
Facebook and Twitter
The PNP chief said syndicates involved in “sextortion” record or gather sex videos and nude photographs of unsuspecting victims through social networking sites such as Facebook, or extract incriminating images from mobile phones and laptop computers. Purisima said the videos and images were then used by syndicates to “extort sexual favors or money from the victim with the threat of sharing these [images] with others” on Facebook and Twitter if the victim refuses to give in to their demands. “Be cautious about the people you meet online. Revealing personal details online is extremely risky … because there are a lot of fake accounts online,” the PNP official warned, adding that images of attractive young women are often used to lure victims into engaging in online chats. Police said the sextortion syndicates had collected millions of pesos from hundreds of victims based in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United States and United Kingdom in the last three to four years, most of whom pay between $500 and $2,000, through Western Union and other money transfer or remittance companies. While elderly men were often targeted, children were also victimized, the police chief said. Child pornography
The 58 people arrested would www.canadianinquirer.net
be charged with several crimes, including engaging in child pornography, extortion and using technology to commit fraud, Purisima said. It was not immediately clear whether all 58 arrested were Filipinos, and authorities emphasized that the Philippines was not the hub of the global sextortion network, only that the current investigation had focused on the country. Purisima said some of the sextortion groups operated like call centers where the operator hires men and women, sitting in rows of computer cubicles, to lure in foreign clients. “The scale of this extortion network is massive,” the director of Interpol’s Digital Crime Center, Sanjay Virmani, said, adding that his group had been closely working with officials of the Interpol’s 190 membercountries, warning that the operation of sextortionists “is a growing threat.” British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said online scammers and other cybercrime operators had been victimizing unsuspecting Internet users all over the world. “This is not an issue directly involving the Philippines exclusively. It respects no nationality or border,” he added. Low risk of arrest
Easy access to the Internet, a relatively lower risk of arrest and big financial gains have caused such crimes to flourish in recent years in countries such as the Philippines. Hong Kong police Insp. Louis Kwan Chung-yin said more than 470 people from Hong Kong were victimized last year
and about 160 so far this year. A US Embassy official said American military personnel were among the victims in the United States. Kwan said Hong Kong victims had paid up to $15,000 in desperate attempts to keep the sexually compromising material private. But once hooked, the victims sometimes found they could not escape. Kwan said some victims paid up to three times before going to the police, “when they realized they could no longer afford to continue paying.” Three of the arrested Filipino suspects were believed to have victimized Perry, who took his own life after reportedly being warned that his video conversations would be circulated to his friends and family if he didn’t pay up. Working together
Gary Cunningham, a police officer from Scotland, said criminal complaints would be filed against the three Filipinos if there was enough evidence to connect them to the blackmail. “You cannot imagine the impact this has had for Perry’s family,” Cunningham said. “They’re still trying to cope with the circumstances.” Warning those still engaged in cyberextortion in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world, Virmani said: “You better be prepared for the consequences of your actions because as you can see we have made a commitment to work together. You will be caught and you will be held accountable for your actions.” ■ With reports from wires
15 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Not quite a base, but US has full access to AFP camps BY NIKKO DIZON AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer THE UNITED States has unimpeded access to certain areas in Philippine military bases as well as the authority to carry out necessary actions for operational control or defense and exclusive use of its prepositioned matériel, according to the security arrangement signed on Monday and posted on the government website on Tuesday. Critics of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) claim the 10-year pact allows the establishment of US bases, which is prohibited by the Constitution. But both the Philippines and the United States say this isn’t so even with the increased number of US troops arriving in the Philippines and some provisions in the 10-page agreement that appear to give a semblance of semipermanent foreign military bases. Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya, a member of the Philippine panel that negotiated the deal, told the INQUIRER that the Edca did not provide parameters necessary for the United States to establish military bases in the Philippines—“extraterritoriality, exclusivity in use and foreign ownership.” “They are not applicable to the areas that would be shared with the US military so there are no US bases,” he said. The Edca allows the United States three things: Access to and use of agreed locations; construction of infrastructure; and storage or prepositioning of assets. Prepositioned matériel
Article III of the agreement provides that the Department of National Defense “shall assist in facilitating transit or temporary access by United States forces to public land and facilities (including roads, ports and airfields), including those owned or controlled by local governments, and to other land and facilities (including roads, ports and airfields).” Article IV provides that “prepositioned matériel of United States forces shall be for the exclusive use of United States forces, and full title to all such equipment, supplies and matériel remains with the US.” “United States forces shall have control over the access to and disposition of such prepositioned matériel and shall have the unencumbered right to remove such prepositioned matériel at any time from the territory of the Philippines,” the Edca said. Unimpeded access
US forces and contractors “shall have unimpeded access” to the identified
“biggest military base in the world.” Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base were Washington’s largest overseas facilities before they were shut down in 1991 after the Senate rejected renewal of the military bases agreement. Constitutionality questioned
Critics of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) claim the 10-year pact allows the establishment of US bases, which is prohibited by the Constitution. PHOTO BY BRANDON BOURDAGES / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Philippine military camps “for all matters relating to the prepositioning and storage of defense equipment, supplies and matériel.” Article V says the United States shall return to the Philippines any “agreed location” in the bases, or portions used, including those that were built or improved by the Americans. “The parties may consult regarding the possible transfer or purchase of equipment determined to be excess, as may be allowed by United States laws and regulations,” the agreement said. Article VI provides that both parties will “ensure the protection, safety and security of United States forces and United States contractors, and the protection and security of official United States information in the territory of the Philippines.”
“The Philippines will also ensure that even with the exclusive use by the US military of their assets, they won’t bring in anything prohibited under our Constitution,” the source said, referring to nuclear weapons and components. The source requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak with reporters. Bayan Muna lawmakers yesterday said the agreement clearly showed the unprecedented access that American troops would have in the Philippines and would turn it into Washington’s
PH panels to vet activities
The Philippines retains the primary responsibility for the security of all the bases. “United States forces are authorized to exercise all rights and authorities within agreed locations that are necessary for their operational control or defense, including taking appropriate measures to protect United States forces and United States contractors. The United States should coordinate such measures with appropriate authorities of the Philippines,” the Edca said. Article VII allows the US forces to use, free of charge, the Armed Forces of the Philippines radio frequency spectrum and operate their own telecommunications systems. A highly placed government source told the INQUIRER that all prepositioned US forces matériel and their inventory that are needed in the two militaries’ activities would undergo vetting by the AFP and the defense department. The source emphasized that all activities to be undertaken under the Edca would have to be authorized by the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board. www.canadianinquirer.net
The group is all set to question Edca’s constitutionality in the Supreme Court, said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate. The Constitution states that foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate, he said. “The agreement promises to promote the modernization of the AFP yet it is not clear how this can be accomplished if our country is relegated to being a weapons depot and our soldiers become the glorified security guards of US troops and their equipment,” Zarate said. Forward base, launch pad
Zarate criticized the provision that prevents the Philippines from getting a third-party arbiter in case of disputes. “This is scary and alarming. Why should the Philippines allow its hands to be tied like this? We will be at the losing end, once again,” he said. ■
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 16
Is Obama pledge really ironclad? By Amando Doronila Philippine Daily Inquirer
for the Asia-Pacific,” referring to his “pivot to Asia” strategic policy.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) with the United States signed during President Barack Obama’s visit comes as an upshot of the revulsion of Filipinos to China’s aggressive incursions into islets claimed by Manila as part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. It defines a new mode of security relationship between the Philippines and the United States in response to China’s growing threat to its smaller neighbors in maritime Asia, as well as to its challenge to US hegemony in Asia-Pacific. It revises the framework of the expanded presence of US forces in Philippine military bases as a counterweight to Chinese territorial expansion in the South China and East China Seas. In a symbolic speech to Filipino and American soldiers at Fort Bonifacio on April 29 before his departure after an overnight stop in Manila, Obama pledged, “Our commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad and the United States will keep that commitment because allies never stand alone.” Quoting from the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Obama said both the Philippines and the United States had pledged to help defend each other “against external attacks, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them stands alone.” He said that “deepening our alliance is part of our broader vision
Freedom of navigation Obama also reiterated US support for the Philippines’ memorial to the United Nations’ arbitral committee to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China claims sovereignty over most of the sea. He said territorial integrity and sovereignty needed to be respected, adding: “We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force.” Despite Obama’s statement at a news conference that “our goal is not to contain China,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial that Obama’s visit to South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines made it “increasingly obvious that Washington is taking Beijing as an opponent.” US officials indicated that the Edca was intended to support efforts to strengthen the Philippine armed forces, one of the weakest in Asia, paving the way for more joint training and exercises in which American forces “can begin rotating through Filipino airfields and ports.” No clear commitment The injection by the United States of its pledge to beef up the Philippine military followed an admission by President Aquino that the military doesn’t even have a single fighter in its arsenal, or heli-
copters capable of reaching remote areas in the country in times of emergency. How ironclad is Obama’s commitment for the United States to defend the Philippines against external attacks under the new security agreement? Obama didn’t give any categorical commitment when asked at a news conference after the signing of the Edca whether the 1951 MDT would apply in case the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China escalated into an armed confrontation.
Commentators noted that unlike Japan, the Philippines—the oldest US defense treaty ally in Asia— did not receive an unequivocal statement from Obama that Washington would come to Manila’s defense in case of an armed conflict with Beijing over the South China Sea. Obama dodged the issue, saying that China had an “interest in abiding by international law,” adding that “larger countries have a greater responsibility” doing so. “Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China,” he said at a joint news conference with Mr. Aquino. Balancing act Observers in the media noted that Obama’s remarks reflected a delicate balancing act throughout his fournation Asia swing. “Our goal is to make sure that in-
ternational rules and norms are respected and that includes in the area of maritime disputes,” he said. “We don’t go around sending ships and threatening folks.” He also said the objectives of the new agreement were not limited to “issues of maritime security.” In a speech during the state dinner, Obama resorted to flattery. “We are honored and proud to call you an ally and a friend,” he said. “Through our treaty alliance, the United States has an ironclad commitment to defend you, your security and your independence.” Oldest treaty ally Commentators noted that unlike Japan, the Philippines—the oldest US defense treaty ally in Asia—did not receive an unequivocal statement from Obama that Washington would come to Manila’s defense in case of an armed conflict with Beijing over the South China Sea. During his trip in Japan, Obama said, “Our commitment to Japan’s security is absolute and Article 5 of the [security treaty] covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.” Article 5 of the 1951 MDT states that “an armed attack on either of the parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.” Obama, in his tightrope balancing act, reiterated his position that the
United States had no “specific position on the disputes between nations.” Int’l arbitration But, not too reassuring to the Philippines, Obama said he was “very supportive” of the Philippine decision to seek international arbitration “that can resolve this in a diplomatic fashion.” Today, he said, “we reaffirm” the importance of resolving territorial disputes in the region peacefully without intimidation or coercion. “As a matter of international law and norms, we don’t think that coercion and intimidation is the way to manage these disputes,” he told Mr. Aquino. Taking the cue, Mr. Aquino played down the dispute with China, saying that in the context of the Philippines’ economic and diplomatic relations with Beijing, it was “the only sour point in our relationship.” Like a dove Sounding like a dove, Mr. Aquino told Obama that “trying to find a way and means by which we can both achieve our respective goals … has to be the primordial concern, rather than disputes on a few rocks that are not possible to be inhabited.” But China has remained unrelenting in its aggressive pressure on rival claimants in the South China Sea. China state media said Washington’s “rebalancing strategy smacks of a carefully calculated scheme to cage the rapidly developing Asian giant by rallying US allies and reinforcing US presence.” ■
Restitution check By Juan L. Mercado Philippine Daily Inquirer “PAYBACK SPEAKS louder than the washing of hands by thieves,” an old axiom says. Exhibit One is a P40-million restitution check given by witness Ruby Tuason to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who crafts the pork barrel scam raps, stood as witness. All are women in a crumbling macho world. The Ombudsman granted immunity to the former social welfare undersecretary of President Joseph Estrada. She agreed to “testify from personal knowledge” on the theft. That included personally handing cash to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s chief of staff, Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, among others. To date, six senators, 24 congressmen, their chiefs of staff and assorted officials face charges of swapping pork slabs for cuts ranging from 19 up to 60 percent of allocations. Enrile is rapped for blowing P332
million on bogus nongovernment organizations, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. P413 million. Not one offered to return a single centavo. Tuason is the exception—so far. She is deemed essential in determining the truth, said Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan. “The P40 million was admitted by Tuason herself. And the reparation amount was ‘computed by her own statement of having received 5 percent’ [commission].” Senator Estrada scoffed at making amends: a “weak” witness, Tuason concocted the yarn; when she visited, it was to bring “merienda.” He will prove his innocence “in court.” He laughed at paying reparation for the P191 million he allegedly blew. That total was jacked up to sweep him into non-bailable plunder raps. The issue of atonement goes back to the Seventh Commandment. “Thou shall not steal” is not a suggestion. It is mandatory. Under Mosaic Law, stolen property had to be restored plus a fifth of the value. The tax collector Zacchaeus defined
redress. “‘Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today, salvation has come to this house.’” This doctrine anchored Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s appeal to alleged pork barrel scam “mastermind” Janet Lim Napoles: “Return what is not yours and tell the truth… about all those involved.” Quis ipsos custodiet custodes? Who will watch the watchmen? Auditors are constitutional watchdogs. So, how did the pork scam metastasize without a whimper from resident auditors? Ask former Commission on Audit chief Reynaldo Villar. He was arrested in Parañaque City last week in connection with the P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office scandal. The Sandiganbayan issued a plunder arrest warrant for seven others. His mug shot was taken and, in crime beat reporters’ jargon, he “played the piano”—that is, he had his fingerprints taken. He’s the first
COA head to be charged since the agency was established in May 1899 by a US president’s executive order. President Aquino, in April 2011, picked finance undersecretary Maria Gracia Pulido Tan as COA chair. An auditor with 30 years national and international experience, Tan since then has pinpointed 192 lawmakers linked to the pork scam from 2007 to 2011. Over P1.35 billion was funneled to 26 dubious NGOs. Tainted resident auditors have been suspended. The COA went after unliquidated P4-billion IOUs allegedly incurred by 100 officials on National Food Authority imports that “wear the badges to fraud.” Tan documents a shift from padlocked pork barrels to “funneling” via local government units. The COA documented cases involving Dinalupihan and Pilar towns in Bataan province, and some Nueva Ecjia municipalities. Seven senators denied they had fingers in the new cookie jar. A speculative scenario meanwhile is unfolding. In the event the Sandi-
ganbayan issues arrest orders, special treatment should be accorded to Enrile, Sen. Antonio Trillanes said. He would not oppose a house arrest either. He’s a 90-year-old man; in an ordinary jail, his medical needs may not be met, Trillanes said, adding that he hoped that the Sandiganbayan will keep an open mind and consider Enrile’s age and physical condition. As to other senators facing criminal raps, Trillanes said their treatment should take into account the fact that they’ve been elected. This mindset for five-star jail accommodations infuriates Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago: same jail for the powerful and the indigents. Why didn’t they legislate for better prisons? But one thing is clear: Fear is being instilled in crooks today by women—Ombudsman Morales, COA’s Tan, Justice Secretary De Lima, Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Kim Henares—and before them, by Presidential Commission on Good Government’s Haydee Yorac and Corazon Aquino. Tienen cojones, is the irreverent josh. They have balls. ■
17 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
AS I SEE IT
A most enjoyable vacation during the war By Neal H. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer With so many resorts offering the same or similar amenities and food, the barrio with its nipa houses and carabaos and chicken are becoming more and more attractive to me. I spend most of the hot summer days with a glass of ice-cold beer or soft drink under a shady tree and look back at the vacation places I have loved. Vacation during my younger days used to be only in the towns or barrios of my classmates. As a city boy, I envied my classmates going home to their provinces as the summer vacation approached. One of the vacations I enjoyed most was during the war when I was just a little boy. It was really an evacuation, but to me it was a long vacation. The parents-in-law of my oldest brother had evacuated to a farm in Lingayen, Pangasinan. They returned to Manila to fetch and bring their children and their families, including my brother, to Lingayen. My brother decided to take me and two younger brothers with them. We were to walk all the way to Pangasinan, as many other evacuees were doing. They built two pushcarts which were to carry our clothes, beddings, cooking utensils, food, and all other
things we needed. One pushcart also carried the tubercular sister-in-law of one of the sons, and the other carried my brother’s wife and their baby boy. We started out very early one morning. The adult males took turns pushing the two pushcarts. We children were spared the chore; we just walked alongside them, picking up firewood along the way. There were a few other evacuees with their own pushcarts. Now and then, there would be a carretela pulled by a horse or a cart pulled by a carabao. We slept in the abandoned houses along the MacArthur Highway (that was not yet its name at that time). We cooked our food under the houses. If there were no houses, we slept on the grass, in the open, beside the highway. We would resume our journey very early the next morning, before the sun was up, after a breakfast of ginger tea, and rice gruel or bread if this was available. For viands, our elders went to the nearest market and bought the cheapest food available. When we passed a sweet potato field, we gathered some camote tops. When we passed a sugarcane field, we broke off some cane stalks and chewed on them while walking. When we passed an irrigation ditch or pond, we gathered some kangkong or snails if there were any.
Somewhere in Pampanga, we saw a Japanese collaborator assassinated by two men who we assumed were guerrillas. It was starting to rain and we took shelter in a group of houses away from the highway. We were followed by three men in a “tibourine” (a horse-drawn, three-seater carriage). I went up one of the houses and lay down to rest.
The instructions said American forces have landed in Lingayen Gulf and are driving toward Manila. They told Filipinos to get away from the highway so they would not get caught in the crossfire between the American and Japanese troops. Then I heard a shot and a shout. I sat up and looked out the window. I saw one of the men, his front shirt red with blood, falling backward as another man held him. The third man was stooping over him, holding a pistol. Then there were two more shots. I dropped to the floor, fearing they would see me and shoot me so there would be no witnesses. After a while, I looked out the open door and saw the two assassins running swiftly up the tiny road.
The elders summoned us and we left the place running, pushing our pushcarts as fast as we could. We were afraid that Japanese soldiers might have heard the shots and would come and see us and think we were involved somehow in the murder. A truck with Japanese soldiers did pass by on the highway but obviously they did not hear the shots because the truck did not stop. Finally, we reached a barrio along the highway, past the town of Tarlac, Tarlac. We stopped to rest beside houses under coconut trees. The curious residents gathered around us to ask where we were going. We told them we were going to Lingayen, Pangasinan. About 15 minutes later, two American planes swooped low over the fields, so low we thought they were going to land. But they only threw out leaflets. We ran after the leaflets as they fluttered in the wind. The leaflets contained instructions to Filipinos living along the highway, with illustrations of American soldiers carrying rifles. The instructions said American forces have landed in Lingayen Gulf and are driving toward Manila. They told Filipinos to get away from the highway so they would not get caught in the crossfire between the American and Japanese troops.
When the barrio folk read this, they told us not to proceed to Lingayen anymore as we would surely meet the advancing American soldiers and we might get killed in the ensuing fighting. They invited us to go with them to the inland barrios. The barrio captain said he would assign us houses. Hurriedly, they hitched their carabaos to carts, piled their belongings on them and we started crossing a shallow but very wide river. The river bottom was sand; it was so hot under the sun that it burned our bare feet. The barrio folk taught us how to escape being burned by the hot sand. The sand was littered with clumps of talahib, and they told us to run from clump to clump like baseball players running from base to base. In the middle of the river was a stream that was only knee-deep, and we were so grateful for its cool water that we stayed there for as long as we could. But we had to cross another stretch of hot sand to get across. So it was once more running from one talahib clump to another. The other side was lined with kamachile trees. At last, we reached Barrio Sta. Maria. There were two other barrios nearby—Sto. Niño and San Jose. That was the beginning of a year-long and most enjoyable vacation for me. TO BE CONTINUED...
be confined to the individual or family level. Legarda says “communities should also start water conservation programs.” Community leaders should start going around their neighborhoods encouraging households to avoid excessive water use “and practice reusing water.” On a bigger scale, the senator urges local governments to put up rainwater harvesting facilities in all barangays “to help address the country’s water shortage problem, while making use of the excess water from rainfall.” Legarda reminds the public that the creation of rainwater catchment basins is already required by law. Republic Act No. 6716 requires the construction of water wells, rainwater collectors, development of springs and rehabilitation of existing water wells in all barangays. “These catchment systems can be built using low-cost local materials. But while the system is not yet in place, the people can use drums to store rainwater especially in areas being frequented by rains. We just have to make sure that water is stored properly so it would not become a breeding place for mosquitoes,” Legarda said. *** The senator also cited the proposal
of environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. to create rainwater catchment ponds, which can be created on “vacant land in low-lying areas that can be excavated and turned into a pond or lake so that excess water from heavy rains or storms have a place to go.” Communities can also take the further step of growing fish on these makeshift ponds “to prevent the pond from becoming a breeding ground of mosquitoes,” while using the area around the pond to plant vegetables like kangkong (swamp cabbage) and fruit-bearing plants like banana. Said Legarda: “We have to implement programs such as these water catchment basins that bring multiple benefits of water conservation, flood prevention and food production. Moreover, as we expect stronger storms due to El Niño, we have to strengthen disaster prevention programs and ensure that our early warning systems are in place and effective.” Indeed, we are fast running out of time. Today, while we are still anticipating the disastrous effects of El Niño, is the time to act and to move, and to resolve not to let the weather get the better of us. ■
Under the weather By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily Inquirer ANYONE living in the Philippines these days must be aware that we are enduring one of the hottest hot weather seasons ever—as records will show. Sure, the rich are surviving somehow by living in an air-conditioned cocoon at home, in the car and at work. But even if their exposure to the searing heat is confined to the walk from their front door to their car, I’m sure they’re well aware of the hot, windless mornings and the blinding sunlight filtering through their tinted windows. And when the Meralco bill arrives, they will know just how much relief from the heat costs them. The rest of the hoi polloi know of the heat all too well. They know how futile even electric fans can be against the suffocating, windless days and the humid nights. And folks in Mindanao know very well the worst of the summer penance imposed on them at this time of year. “Rotating brownouts” may sound benign, but not when that means eight to 12 hours of no electricity each day, living with heat and darkness, no TV, no refrigeration, no relief in sight. And the afflictions aren’t confined to the heat. “Bungang araw” or prickly
heat, translated, in ironic Filipino fashion, as “fruit of the sun” because of the red, raised rashes, has become so prevalent among children that the Department of Health has been forced to issue guidelines on what to do in case one’s child suffers a breakout. There have also been health bulletins issued against heat stroke, dehydration, dengue and a new viral disease that has been afflicting people in a seemingly random, reckless manner. Can you imagine what this terrible heat means to helpless infants and the elderly? *** Rich or poor, young or old, comfortable in cool surroundings or suffering the slings and arrows of stultifying heat, everyone is enduring the seasonal torture. And it gives us little comfort to know that the seasonal affliction has consequences that go well beyond the immediate future. We are, reminds Sen. Loren Legarda who chairs the Senate environment committee, on the brink of “El Niño.” Named, ironically again, after the Child Jesus, this weather phenomenon is expected to hit the country in June. And as the Department of Science and Technology warns, El Niño may trigger drought and stronger storms. El Niño is created by a “band of
anomalously warm ocean water temperatures” in the Pacific coast of South America that affects climate across the Pacific Rim. Even as it leads to drought and scarce rainfall, the other face of El Niño (sometimes called La Niña) can also usher in torrential rains and floods. Even before we begin to feel the worse effects of El Niño (as if the summer heat is not already a harbinger), Legarda calls on all Filipinos to start conserving water, either by cutting down on consumption, or preparing to store their water in cis-
The rest of the hoi polloi know of the heat all too well. They know how futile even electric fans can be against the suffocating, windless days and the humid nights. terns, drums and other containers. But another concern, says Legarda, is food security. “Prolonged drought would drastically cut down the production of local crops like rice, corn, sugar cane, vegetable and other agricultural products,” she says, while it could also cause a decrease in fisheries yield. *** Response to El Niño should not
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Canadians frantic for live in caregivers hope they’re spared from TFW crackdown
FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS
BY LEE-ANNE GOODMAN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Khristina Lawless is almost single-handedly raising five children and operating a cattle ranch in rural Saskatchewan as her husband works shifts in the oilfields to try to make ends meet. Yet her attempts to hire a live-in caregiver to help with her kids, ranging in age from 5 to 17, have been unsuccessful, and the controversy dogging Ottawa’s troubled temporary foreign worker program has only made things worse. “I’m not trying to take a Canadian’s job—literally no one applied when I put up postings,” Lawless, 37, said in an interview from tiny Maryfield, in the southeast reaches of the province, shortly after tending to a sick calf on Monday. “My last nanny was here for six months but it didn’t work out. But just getting her here in the first place was difficult. There was a lengthy wait time to get the labour market opinion, and I had to pay all of her travel expenses in addition to processing fees, and now I have to go through it
SOME ONTARIANS WONDER IF THEY SAW A METEOR TORONTO—Many Ontarians have taken to social media to report a suspected meteor sighting. Reports of a fireball blazing across the sky came in Sunday afternoon from various southern Ontario communities and parts of the United States. One Toronto resident said it was “as fast as a shooting star.”
all over again.” The live-in caregiver sector is particularly nervous as Employment Minister Jason Kenney vows to further tighten the rules governing temporary foreign workers, a program originally conceived to address shortages of agricultural workers and live-in caregivers. There are genuine, serious shortages of live-in caregivers in Canada, said the head of the Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies Canada.
Yet the Conservatives have already added so much red tape to the process of hiring from abroad that another round of rule changes could seriously affect Canadian families, said Manuela Gruber Hersch, an Austrian-born former nanny who worked for a Canadian family as a teenager 27 years ago before eventually becoming a Canadian citizen. “We need bodies because there
OTTAWA—The Liberals are proposing a series of fixes to Ottawa’s troubled temporary foreign worker program as fresh allegations of abuse emerge almost daily. MP John McCallum, the party’s immigration critic, proposes five reforms to the program that focus partly on better monitoring of employers who apply to bring in foreigners. He adds that the government should scale the program back and focus on its original purpose—to fill
labour shortages when there is a legitimate need. In recent weeks, a spate of allegations suggests some companies are turning to the program in sectors and regions of the country where there are no labour shortages. Helicopter pilots, waitresses and mall workers are among those who have stepped forward to complain. Employment Minister Jason Kenney has pledged to lower the boom on those abusing the program and has already banned restaurants from applying for temporary foreign workers.
MONTREAL—Aero Montreal says employment in Quebec’s aerospace sector has fully recovered from the financial crisis despite ongoing economic challenges that have constrained aircraft orders. The group, which represents Montreal-based aerospace companies as well as educational and research groups, says more than 43,500 workers were employed in the industry in the province last year, up 1,000 from 2012 and nearly nine per cent above 2010 levels when employment reached its lowest point in the recession.
❱❱ PAGE 43 Canadians frantic
Liberals propose five point plan to fix temporary foreign worker program The Canadian Press
QUEBEC AEROSPACE SECTOR RECOVERS LOST JOBS
New rule changes are expected soon, including beefing up the auditing powers of federal inspectors. McCallum points out that between 2005 and 2012, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada more than doubled. He wants the government to tighten the so-called labour market opinion process. Employers must apply for a positive labour market opinion if they want to hire a foreigner on a temporary basis. McCallum also repeated his demand for a review by the auditor general. ■
CANADA POST REPORTS LOSS OF $29M FOR 2013 OTTAWA— Canada Post Corp. lost $29 million last year, compared with a loss of $83 million in 2012, helped by the sale of its plant in downtown Vancouver.Revenue for the Crown corporation, which includes the Canada Post mail and parcel delivery segment, along with majority-owned subsidiaries Purolator, SCI Group and Innovapost, totalled $7.56 billion in sales compared with a loss of $83 million on $7.52 billion in sales in 2012. LIBERAL, PC CAMPAIGN BUSES ROLL MONDAY TORONTO—The campaign buses have barely rolled out for the June 12 election and already there’s a flurry of open letters, accusations and even legal claims in a $2-million libel suit. The Progressive Conservatives are denying they did anything wrong when they suggested that Premier Kathleen Wynne “oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents” related to the $1.1-billion cancellation of two gas plants.
19 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Russia invading Ukraine in ‘slow motion,’ Harper tells NATO supreme commander The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Russia is mounting a “slow-motion” invasion of Ukraine. Harper made the comment today at the start of talks with U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander. Breedlove is embarking on two days of talks with Canadian political and military leaders just as heavy clashes erupt between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces in Ukraine’s eastern region. He met briefly with Harper, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Canada’s military commander, Gen. Tom Lawson. The meetings are being held
against a backdrop of escalating violence in Ukraine, where the country’s elite troops have been dispatched to quell unrest in the key southern port city of Odessa. Harper says the latest developments are “very deeply concerning” and that NATO has asked for Canada’s support. “We are obviously concerned by the continuing escalation of violence in Ukraine, which to me very much appears to be clearly, what I would call, a slow motion invasion on the part of the Putin regime,” Harper said, seated next to Breedlove in the prime minister’s Langevin Block office. Harper noted Canada has contributed air, naval and army assets, and that this was done
to give assurances to Canada’s eastern European allies of its support. Pitched battles between proRussian militants and Ukrainian forces took place in and around the city Slovyansk, which has been a hotbed of unrest. Breedlove is expected to give Canadian authorities an update on NATO’s reassurance package for eastern European countries bordering the troubled region. Canada has dispatched a frigate to operate with NATO’s standing task force in the eastern Mediterranean Sea; six CF-18 fighters to operate out of a Romanian air base; and will deploy troops from the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Cana-
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the latest developments are “very deeply concerning” and that NATO has asked for Canada’s support. PHOTO BY INTOIT / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
dian Light Infantry to take part
in a land exercise in Poland. ■
Tory MPs raised concerns about TFW program as controversy vexes Conservatives BY LEE-ANNE GOODMAN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Employers in hard-hit regions of Canada have been hiring temporary foreign workers despite an abundance of domestic job-seekers, government data indicates, while at least two Conservative MPs have privately sounded alarm bells about the besieged federal program. Temporary foreign workers were the subject of a heated debate Tuesday in the House of Commons, when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused the Conservatives of contributing to joblessness in southwestern Ontario by allowing companies to hire foreign help. A recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute, a non-partisan public policy think-tank, suggested the program has also spurred joblessness in Alberta and B.C. “In Windsor, the number of unemployed workers has risen by 40 per cent while the num-
ber of foreign workers in the city has grown by 86 per cent,” Trudeau said. “Unemployment in London has risen by 27 per cent while the number of foreign workers has increased by 87 per cent.” In a letter to Liberal MP John McCallum, auditor general Michael Ferguson suggested he was open to conducting a review of the program. Both the Liberals and the NDP have been calling for a probe by the auditor general. “Let me assure you that we
are aware of the current debates concerning the program,” Ferguson wrote, adding he would be asking the government “for their information in planning for future audits.” But it was two different letters—one from Conservative MP Kellie Leitch, now labour minister, and Alberta colleague Blake Richards—that posed even further embarrassments for the government on what’s become one of its most vexatious files. www.canadianinquirer.net
In an April 2012 dispatch to Transport Minister Denis Lebel, Leitch told of an Air Canada pilot in her riding who “expressed concern regarding the hiring of foreign crews and pilots who are driving down the salaries of Canadian pilots as well as contributing to the unemployment of Canadian pilots.” Lebel referred Leitch to other ministries. Richards, meantime, wrote to Diane Finley in late 2009, raising similar concerns about CanJet’s hiring practices. Finley was then the minister of human resources and skills development. “At a time when many people are having difficulties finding employment, I am sure you can appreciate why some pilots would be upset that their col-
leagues have been overlooked by CanJet,” he wrote. Questioned about the letters during question period, Kenney thanked his Conservative colleagues for the information and suggested the government had cracked down on the use of temporary foreign workers in the aviation sector. “We appreciate such input,” Kenney said. “It has helped to inform our tightening up of this program.” But data compiled by Kenney’s department indeed shows that a slew of temporary foreign workers have been hired in recent years in areas struggling with joblessness, including the Maritimes and southwestern Ontario, and in sectors where there is no lack of domestic candidates. In 2012, for example, the government granted positive labour market opinions for 375 temporary foreign workers in Cape Breton, a region of Nova Scotia that had a 17.5 per cent unemployment rate a year ago. “They always just want to talk about the employers who are abusing, but at the end of the ❱❱ PAGE 22 Tory MPs
MAY 9, 2014
Colombian shaman shows Data on missing Malaysia plane’s no remorse in death flight path to be re examined as of British teen from search enters new phase hallucinogenic brew BY KRISTEN GELINEAU The Associated Press
BY JOSHUA GOODMAN AND MARKO ALVAREZ The Associated Press BOGOTA, COLOMBIA—A Colombian shaman is showing no remorse and taking no responsibility for the death of a British teenager who drank a hallucinogen during a tribal ritual. Guillermo Mavisoy says it’s common to vomit and become ill while consuming yage. But he says he’s never seen anyone die during the decades he’s been serving the herbal concoction made from the namesake vine and other plants native to the Amazon rainforest. “When it’s time to die, you die,” Mavisoy said in rudimentary Spanish in a taped interview Tuesday from his home on a tribal reservation in the southern Colombian jungles. “You can take the safest pill in the world and you can die. It doesn’t matter if you have lots of money when the time has come.” Henry Miller’s body was found last week dumped near Mavisoy’s modest home after he and other foreigners attended a ceremony led by the shaman. Authorities have yet to determine the cause of death but say the 19-year-old from Bristol, England fell ill during the ritual. Mavisoy says he ordered two family members to rush Miller to the hospital on a motorcycle but when the teen died en route the men panicked and left the body on the side of a dirt road. The two men and Mavisoy have been questioned in connection with a manslaughter investigation but no charges have been filed. Yage, also known as ayahuasca, has been venerated for centuries by indigenous tribes in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia as a divinatory tool and miracle cure for all sorts of ailments. It was popularized in the West in the 1960s in “The Yage Letters,” a collection of correspondence and writings by William Burroughs, describing to
fellow beat writer Allen Ginsberg his search for mind-altering experiences in the Amazon using the strange brew. Mavisoy says he doesn’t seek out foreigners, but they find their way to his small ranch outside Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo province. The going rate for an all-night session: about $25, according to Filip Goemaere, owner of the Mocoa hostel where Miller and the other backpackers stayed. “Indigenous tribes say they’re not commercializing yage but almost every day tourists go to try it,” said Goemaere, who estimates about a third of his guests ask about the psychedelic brew even though he doesn’t promote its consumption. The Associated Press obtained video footage from police taken during the ceremony where Miller fell ill. In the grainy video, Mavisoy is dressed in traditional garb and stomps his feet while blowing on a wind instrument. Tribesman stir yage in a giant pot placed over a fire. Miller is seen addressing a camera but there’s no audio. Next to Mavisoy’s home is an open-walled, dirt-floored wooden shack equipped with hammocks where foreigners lounge. A hand-painted mural with images of an Indian, a tiger, an eagle and coca leaves decorate a triangular area on the face of the building. Mavisoy, who has led healing sessions in other countries, says yage doesn’t kill, but rather cleans the spirit and then the body of the person imbibing it. Peter von Puttkamer, a Los Angeles-based documentary filmmaker who has traced yage’s discovery in the 1940s by a Harvard ethnobotanist, says many foreigners don’t have sufficient respect for what tribes in the Amazon consider a sacred healing medicine. “It can be quite a dark, frightening experience to go on it,” Puttkamer told the Associated Press. “It’s a mind-altering experience that can possibly alter your perception forever.” ■
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—An international panel of experts will re-examine all data gathered in the nearly two-month hunt for the missing Malaysia jet to ensure search crews who have been scouring a desolate patch of ocean for the plane have been looking in the right place, officials said Monday. Senior officials from Malaysia, Australia and China met in the Australian capital to hash out the details of the next steps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which will centre on an expanded patch of seafloor in the Indian Ocean off Western Australia. The area became the focus of the hunt after a team of analysts calculated the plane’s likeliest flight path based on satellite and radar data. Starting Wednesday, that data will be re-analyzed and combined with all information gathered thus far in the search, which hasn’t turned up a single piece of debris despite crews scouring more than 4.6 million square kilometres (1.8 million square miles) of ocean. “We’ve got to this stage of the process where it’s very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure
there’s no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right,” Angus Houston, head of the search operation, told reporters in Canberra. Investigators have been stymied by a lack of hard data since the plane vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A weekslong search for surface debris was called off last week after officials determined any wreckage that may have been floating has likely sunk. “Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing,” Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said. “We’ve been confident on the basis of the information provided that the search area was the right one, but in practice, that confidence has not been converted into us discovering any trace of the aircraft.” Houston has warned that the underwater search may drag on for up to a year. Houston and Truss met with Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang in Canberra on Monday to map out the next steps of the underwater search, which will focus on a 60,000 square kilometre (23,000 square mile) patch of seafloor. Officials are contacting governments and private contractors
to find out whether they have specialized equipment that can dive deeper than the Bluefin 21, an unmanned sub that has spent weeks scouring the seafloor in an area where sounds consistent with a plane’s black box were detected in early April. The Bluefin can dive only to depths of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles)—and parts of the search zone are likely deeper than that. Adding to the difficulties is the fact no one really knows exactly how deep the water in the search area is. “I don’t know that anyone knows for sure, because it’s never been mapped,” Truss said, adding that detailed mapping of the seafloor will be a key focus of the next phase of the search. In addition to deeper diving capabilities, the new equipment will be able to send information back to crews in real time. The Bluefin’s data can be downloaded only after it returns to the surface following each of its 16-hour dives. It will likely take another two months before any new equipment is in the water, Truss said. The Bluefin will continue to be used in the meantime, though its search is currently on hold while the ship Ocean Shield, which has the sub on board, is taking on supplies at a base in Western Australia. ■
Senior officials from Malaysia, Australia and China met in the Australian capital to hash out the details of the next steps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which will centre on an expanded patch of seafloor in the Indian Ocean off Western Australia. PHOTO BY AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
21 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Earthquake cracks walls and roads, damages temples in north Thailand; no casualties reported BY THANYARAT DOKSONE The Associated Press BANGKOK, THAILAND—A strong earthquake shook northern Thailand and Myanmar on Monday evening, smashing windows, cracking walls and roads and damaging Buddhist temples. No casualties were reported. The airport in Chiang Rai, a northern Thai city near the epicenter of the shallow magnitude 6.3 temblor, evacuated people from its terminal, where display signs and pieces of the ceiling fell. There was no damage to the runway or flight disruptions, airport General Manager Damrong Klongakara said. A well-known temple near the city, the all-white Wat Rongkhun, was closed due to safety concerns after the earthquake.
“The spire of the main building came off and the tiles on the roof fell off,” Chalermchai Kositpiphat, the artist who designed the temple, told Nation TV. “I still don’t know how we can sleep tonight. ... It was shaking the whole time and then aftershocks followed four to five times.” Chalermchai said the temple’s murals were also damaged. “I don’t know how many years it will take me to fix it,” he said. “It was shaking like the earth was going to explode.” The head of a Buddha statue fell at the Udomwaree Temple in Chiang Rai, according to monk Phra Pathompong. A residential building at the temple also had exterior cracks and ceiling damage, and residents reported minor damage in their homes, he said. In Chiang Rai’s Phan district,
a road was split by multiple cracks, the worst a waist-high gash about the length of three vehicles. People ran down stairs in office buildings in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, and severe shaking also was felt in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second-largest city. Window curtains briefly swayed in the Thai capital, Bangkok. No casualties were reported and only roads and buildings were damaged, said Anusorn Kaewkangwan, deputy director-general at the Interior Ministry. Thailand’s Meteorological Department said the quake was magnitude 6.3. The U.S. Geological Survey measured it at 6.0 and said the epicenter was 9 kilometres (6 miles) south of Mae Lao and 27 kilometres (17 miles) southwest of Chiang Rai.
Big gold Buddha statue in North Thailand.
Its depth was a relatively shallow 7.4 kilometres (4.6 miles). Shallow quakes often cause more damage. Southeast Asia is seismically active and quakes are often felt in surrounding nations. Thailand has several faults, though in recent times quakes centred in the country have been less severe than those in other Southeast Asian nations such as Myanmar and Indonesia. A 9.1-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia’s Sumatra island
on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 8,000 people in Thailand’s coastal areas, among its overall death toll of 240,000. The last earthquake in Thailand approaching the size of Monday’s quake registered magnitude 5.1 on Dec. 13, 2006, in Chiang Mai province. ■ Associated Press writers Christie Hampton and Grant Peck contributed to this report.
Boko Haram leader threatens to sell girls it kidnapped in Nigeria BY MICHELLE FAUL The Associated Press LAGOS, NIGERIA—Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader is threatening to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday. Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, warning that his group plans to attack more schools and abduct more girls. “I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful.” He described the girls as “slaves” and said, “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace.” The hourlong video starts with fighters lifting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great.” It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some
of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors—who paid a nominal bride price of $12—and that others have been carried into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified. In the video, Shekau also said the students “will remain slaves with us.” That appears a reference to the ancient jihadi custom of enslaving women captured in a holy war, who then can be used for sex. “They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them,” he said, speaking in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria. The video was reviewed by The Associated Press, and both the face and the voice of the leader of Boko Haram were recognizable. Shekau brushed off warnings that the abductions could be an international crime, saying in English, as if to reach his accusers in the international community: “What do you know about human rights? You’re just claiming human rights (abuses), but you don’t know what it is.”
An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam. The man, an Islamic scholar, spoke on condition of anonymity because his position is sensitive. Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped. The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women have ignited national outrage with demonstrations in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of insensitivity to the girls’ plight. An organizer of a demonstration said Monday that Jonathan’s wife, Patience, ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, accused them of belonging to Boko Haram and expressed doubts there was any kidnapping. It was unclear what authority Patience Jonathan would have to give such orders, since there www.canadianinquirer.net
is no office of first lady in the Nigerian constitution. Ayo Adewuyi, spokesman for the first lady, said he was unaware of any arrests. “The first lady did not order the arrest of anybody, and I’m sure of that,” he told the AP. But Saratu Angus Ndirpaya of Chibok town said State Security Service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital. She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention. By Monday afternoon, police said Nyadar had been returned home. A statement denied she was detained, saying she was “invited ... (to) an interactive and fact-finding interview. “ Ndirpaya said Patience Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions. “She told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband’s rule,” she said in a telephone interview with the AP.
She said other women at the meeting, allies of Patience Jonathan including officials of the government and the ruling party, cheered and chanted “yes, yes,” when the first lady accused them of belonging to Boko Haram. “They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs. Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram.” In a report on the meeting, Daily Trust newspaper quoted Patience Jonathan as ordering all Nigerian women to stop protesting, and warning that “should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves.” On Sunday night, President Jonathan said his administration was doing everything possible. On Friday he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy to free the girls. ■ Associated Press writers Lekan Oyekanmi and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, Divine Ntaryike in Douala, Cameroon and Ibrahim Garba in Kano, Nigeria contributed to this report.
MAY 9, 2014
Immigration consultants offer to pair firms with temporary foreign workers BY LEE-ANNE GOODMAN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Immigration consultants, many of them in Western Canada, are apparently now specializing in pairing up employers and temporary foreign workers. One online advertisement placed in several provinces even pledges to help temporary foreign workers find employers, instead of the other way around. “Are you looking for an LMO (labour market opinion) employer?” asks the ad placed by Edmonton-based Global Hire on Kijiji, the online classified advertising service. “I have access to 800 LMO jobs right now. Also, I have the complete list of ALL companies with LMOs in Canada. Over 50,000 employers. Do you have friends and family who want to come to Canada to work? I can help.” The owner of Global Hire— which bills itself as “foreign worker specialists”—did not respond to requests for an interview. But the company’s sales pitch turns on its head the standard procedure in place for companies to obtain temporary foreign workers under Ottawa’s embattled program. Employers must first make an attempt to find qualified Canadian workers before applying for a labour market opinion— called an LMO—in order to hire someone from abroad, not turn to a bank of temporary foreign
workers. Companies are required to place ads on the federal government’s online job bank and prove they’ve made other attempts to find Canadian employees. Critics of the procedure, however, charge that it’s easy for a company to include bogus requirements in their job ads. “They just make up any type of stupid requirement with the goal of just being able to exclude Canadians,” said Gilles Hudicourt, an Air Transat pilot who’s become a vocal critic of the temporary foreign worker program. “The government has no way of verifying whether any Canadians applied. They have to take the company’s word for it.” If the company reports that no one applied, it can then apply for a temporary foreign worker. Alexis Pavlich, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, said the government takes immigration fraud “very seriously.” “That is why we passed a law to crack down on crooked immigration consultants,” Pavlich said. “We have also proposed reforms to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which will crack down on crooked citizenship consultants. We hope the Liberals will support these reforms.” Employment Minister Jason Kenney, who took aim against immigration consultants when he helmed the immigration department, is vowing to crack
down on abusers of the temporary foreign workers program. A new slate of rule changes is expected to be announced soon, including greater auditing powers for federal inspectors as they hunt down abusers of the program. Other immigration consultants in the West are advertising similar services regarding temporary foreign workers on Kijiji and other job sites. Most didn’t return calls from the media, or hung up when asked about the nature of their business. The temporary foreign workers program has ballooned from about 100,000 people in 2002 to as many as 338,000 now working across the country, undoubtedly making it an attractive business opportunity for immigration consultants. “We can help your company with all the necessary paperwork and also the foreign worker recruitment process,” reads one ad placed by a company in Red Deer, Alta. “We can help you find, quali-
fied, hardworking individuals to fill your labour shortages.” In 2013 alone, Ottawa approved approximately 240,000 temporary foreign workers. Hundreds of Canadian companies and governmental bodies employ temporary foreign workers, according to data compiled by Kenney’s department. The program was originally designed to address shortages of skilled workers, not to recruit low-skilled help. The issue was in the spotlight again Friday as the NDP told the House of Commons that the number of temporary foreign workers in the manufacturing sector doubled from
8,600 in 2006, when the Tories took office, to almost 17,000 in 2012. “Why has there been such a staggering increase? Why is the government showing such clear incompetence?” asked NDP House leader Peter Julian. The government answered with what has become its standard reply. “Our government sent a strong message to employers that they must always give Canadians first crack at any available job,” said Scott Armstrong, Kenney’s parliamentary secretary, of Kenney’s recent crackdown on the food services sector. ■
“Statistics Canada clearly stated that, ‘The effect of temporary foreign workers on the employment estimates is negligible,’ representing two per cent of overall employment,” spokeswoman Alexandra Fortier said in an email. In his spring report released Tuesday, the auditor general said Statcan’s top survey on job vacancies is too vague and doesn’t provide details on the precise locations of labour shortages within the provinces and territories.
Its industry classifications are also too broad and don’t provide enough information about jobs that need to be filled, he added. An employment insurance report by Employment and Skills Development Canada has been ridiculed for including data from Kijiji, an online classified jobs site, to determine labour needs. The practice has since been dropped. The temporary foreign worker program has ballooned from about 100,000 people in 2002
to as many as 338,000 now. In 2013 alone, Ottawa approved approximately 240,000 temporary foreign workers. Earlier Tuesday, Kenney and various Conservative MPs defended the government’s handling of the program and employers who hire temporary foreign workers in sectors and regions with legitimate labour shortages. Alberta MP Chris Warkentin accused Trudeau of demonizing employers who have tried but ultimately failed to find do-
mestic employees. He pointed to McDonald’s restaurants in Grand Prairie, Alta., that can’t fill dozens of job vacancies despite offering wages higher than the prevailing market rate. Kenney has temporarily banned restaurants from accessing the program amid a spate of abuse allegations. He’s expected to announce a new round of rule restrictions soon, including efforts to beef up the auditing powers of federal inspectors.
Tory MPs... day this government has failed to take responsibility for the fact that they are the ones that approve the LMOs,” said Jinny Sims, the NDP’s immigration critic. “They’re saying it has nothing to do with us when it has everything to do with them.” Kenney’s office issued a statement challenging the notion that temporary foreign workers contribute to joblessness rates, citing Statistics Canada findings. ❰❰ 19
23 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Trudeau links regional unemployment with use of temporary foreign workers Spring into action for Move for Health Week RICHMOND, BC—The City of Richmond is determined to get everybody moving as we celebrate Move for Health Week from May 5 to 10, which will be topped off with a lively and action-filled Move for Health Festival on Saturday, May 10 at Minoru Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over fifty free or low cost activities will keep those who live, work and play in Richmond active for Move for Health Week. The Move for Health Festival will feature entertainment, interactive booths, a line-up of healthy food options and the annual Walk with the Mayor. Richmond’s Move for Health
Week initiative is delivered in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, the City’s Community Association partners, Richmond Sports Council, the Richmond School District and local community organizations. Media partners are the Richmond Review, 24 Hours and the Philippine Canadian Inquirer. Details for Move for Health Week in Richmond can be found at www.richmond.ca/ moveforhealth. Follow the City of Richmond on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CityofRichmondBC) and Twitter (@ Richmond_BC) for updates and for contests; use #RichmondMoves. ■
BY LEE-ANNE GOODMAN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—The temporary foreign worker program is again front and centre in the House of Commons as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accuses the Conservatives of contributing to joblessness in hard-hit regions of the country. Trudeau is citing statistics that he says show that the unemployment rate in some cities in southwestern Ontario, including London and Windsor, has increased as temporary foreign workers have been hired. “In Windsor, the number of unemployed workers has risen by 40 per cent while the number of foreign workers in the city has grown by 86 per cent,” Trudeau said during Tuesday’s debate in the House. “Unemployment in London
has risen by 27 per cent while the number of foreign workers has increased by 87 per cent.” Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s office issued a statement challenging Trudeau’s remarks. “Statistics Canada clearly stated that ‘the effect of temporary foreign workers on the employment estimates is negligible,’ representing two per cent of overall employment,” spokeswoman Alexandra Fortier said in an email. The NDP’s Jinny Sims, the party’s immigration critic, is also weighing in, accusing the government of badly mishandling the program. Various Conservative MPs rose to defend the government’s handling of the program and those employers who are using temporary foreign workers in sectors and regions with
Minoru Park, 7191 Granville Ave 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Celebrate Move for Health Day on May 10 at Minoru Park and discover some of the many opportunities for your family to be active in Richmond! • Discover your Sport with Richmond Sports Council—try out activities offered by more than 15 local sports organizations • Main Stage performances including a live DJ, Richmond Youth Dance Company, ShowStoppers and high energy demonstrations from Richmond’s local sports organizations • Walk with the Mayor • Walk with your Doc • Meet Active Jack • Bring your completed Activity Tracker to display on the Move for Health Community Board! Download copies of the Activity Tracker at www.richmond.ca/moveforhealth. Visit www.richmond.ca/moveforhealth for a full schedule of events. /CityofRichmondBC
legitimate labour shortages. Saskatchewan’s Chris Warkentin, the Conservative member for Peace River, accused Trudeau of demonizing employers who have tried but ultimately were unable to find domestic employees. He pointed to McDonald’s restaurants in Grand Prairie, saying the fast-food giant has dozens of job vacancies and is offering more than the prevailing market wage but can’t fill the positions. ■
Seen & Scenes
MAY 9, 2014
ASIAN HERITAGE FAIR The Richmond Chinese Community Society (RCCS) hosted an Asian Heritage Fair on May 4, in Lansdowne Mall, Richmond, B.C. to celebrate the diverse culture of Asians who play a vital role in the multi-cultural mosaic of Canada. This activity is part of the month-long celebration of Vancouver’s Asian Heritage Month. The fair recognizes the diversity of the Asian community and the role of Asian Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada. Anton Mandap, Deputy Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver, said the Philippines is grateful to have been invited to take part in this activity, which they regard with great importance and significance. “It is always a pleasure for us to unite with the Asian community here in Richmond as well as in Metro Vancouver and B.C. in celebrating Asian contributions to the rich tapestry of cultures in this region,” he said.
A Korean potter provides the crowd at the Asian Heritage Fair with free pottery souvenirs she made on-the-spot.
GAWAD KALINGA CANADA GAWAD KALINGA CANADA headed by Chairman Pidoy Pacis gave awards of appreciation to its donors, sponsors, and supporters for the help they have given during the Yolanda Typhoon Fund Raising campaign. Photos show Rafael Nebres, president of the Bicol Canada Community Association Inc. and general manager of Action Honda receiving an award of appreciation for the support he has given during the Yolanda Typhoon Fund Raising campaign held on April 19, 2014 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. St. Jamestown News Service, Romy Zetazate. Photo by Ariel Ramos.
Traditional dragon dance made the fair more festive.
WORKSHOP ON ELDER ABUSE FOR FILIPINO SENIORS The Seniors Brigade Society of BC, Filipino Seniors’ Club and Philippine Bagong Pag-asa Seniors’ Society jointly sponsored the first of a series of workshops on Elder Abuse for Filipino Seniors in Metro Vancouver at the St. Patrick Social Hall, on 12th Ave., Vancouver B.C. This is in compliance with the project approved and funded by the New Horizons for Seniors Program of Service Canada. Topics for discussion included the Canadian Charter of Rights, Philippine Bill of Rights, seniors’ rights to live in safety and security and how seniors can safeguard their civil liberties. Right: A workshop on elder abuse helped enlighten Filipino Canadian seniors on the warning signs of physical, emotional and financial abuse; available resources; and their rights in general.
For photo submissions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.canadianinquirer.net
Seen & Scenes
25 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
‘SINING’ IS NOW OFFICIALLY OPEN FOR PUBLIC VIEWING “Sining,” an art exhibit that aims to promote Filipino artists and Philippine Visual Arts, is now open to the public after it’s launch on May 2. The launch event was organized by the Philippine-Consulate General Office (PCG), led by ConsulGeneral Junever Mahilum-West, and was attended by the Philippine Artists Group (PAG) and their supporters. Aside from the Consul-General, PAG President Nelia Tonido and renowned artist Maestro Romeo Mananquil also gave their opening remarks. The exhibition will run for two months at the new PCG Office at 160 Eglington St., Toronto. Some of the paintings displayed are for sale. Please see page 36 for more photos and the full story.
TFWs AND SUPPORTERS SPEAK AT PRESS CONFERENCE Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington, joined a press conference at the MHHS on May 2 by Migrante-BC which highlighted how the current Temporary Foreign Worker Program moratorium on food services is impacting temporary foreign workers (TFWs). Current and former TFWs spoke about their experiences with the moratorium, recruitment agencies and abusive employers. Federal NDP MP Jinny Sims and representatives from the BC Federation of Labour and the West Coast Domestic Workers Association were also part of the panel.
Congen Neil Ferrer, Lenore R.S. Lim and Mrs. Miriam M. Ferrer
GENERATION ONE ART EXHIBIT OPENS “So This is Canada!” a juried art exhibit of impressions of Canada opened last May 4, at the International Arts Gallery in International Village Mall, Vancouver B.C., as part of explorAsian 2014 festival marking Vancouver’s Asian Heritage Month. Over 60 works of art by Pan-Asian immigrant artists, including eight Filipino painters namely Sym Mendoza, Danvic Briones, Leo Cunanan, Esmie Gayo Maclaren, Lenore R.S. Lim, Reynato Pablo, J.A. Tan and Rod Pedralba were on display at the gallery. Photos courtesy of Mary Ann Mandap and Una Bruhns www.canadianinquirer.net
MAY 9, 2014
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS:
FILIPINO-CANADIAN IN FOCUS Every week, the Philippine Canadian Inquirer celebrates the unwavering Filipino spirit through a feature called “Filipino-Canadian in Focus.” The feature recognizes the achievements of Filipinos living in Canada who have shown concern for the community, success in spite of trials, and the uniquely Pinoy practice of “bayanihan.” This year, we are welcoming nominations for the next subject of “Filipino-Canadian in Focus.”
MECHANICS: - All nominees must have (a) Filipino heritage/ancestry - All nominees must be residing in Canada at the time of nomination - Nominees from all industries are welcome (e.g. medical/health, politics, community service, business, entertainment, charity institutions, etc.) - Who can nominate? Anybody.
Fill up the nomination form online by scanning the code with your smartphone or by visiting InFocus.canadianinquirer.net.
27 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Modernizing a Mythical Monster
BY RUEL S. DE VERA Philippine Daily Inquirer MONSTERS PLAY a big part in the enduring thrall that Philippine mythology has over us. From the giant ogre smoking a fat tobacco while perched on a tree to the winged half-woman flying in the night in search of human prey, to the wizened dwarf living in an anthill, these creatures have populated Filipino tales through generations, usually and remarkably in classic bedtime story form. But recent incarnations have transformed these creatures, updating them for a younger, savvier audience. Now it’s time for the tiyanak, that little predator masquerading as an abandoned baby, to get its makeover. And it happens in Adarna House’s “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon,” written by award-winning author Edgar “Egay” Calabia Samar. More than just modernizing a Filipino myth, “Janus Silang” is an attempt to build a new one— a Filipino young adult (YA) franchise, the closest thing we have to J.K. Rowling’s worldchanging Harry Potter series. That’s because “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon” is just the first of a trilogy built around a young Filipino hero with that most modern of interests—online role-playing games (RPGs). The soft-spoken 33-year-old Samar first got the idea for “Janus Silang” three years ago. “The idea would begin with the massacre of teenagers in an alternative San Pablo,” said this San Pablo City, Laguna native who now writes from Marikina City. Samar’s interest in YA is rather unusual for a guy whose first book is actually a children’s book, “Uuwi na ang Nanay kong si Darna,” in 2005. The assistant professor at the Ateneo de Manila University had not done any writing for younger readers since then, but has instead made a name writing dense, literary fare, among them the National Book Award-winning novel “Sa Kasunod ng 909,” Man Asia Literary Prize longlisted “Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog” and works that have won numerous Palanca Awards. Last year, Samar received a fortuitous e-mail from Ani Al-
mario, vice-president at the Adarna House, asking about his ideas for their expanding YA line. “He said he already had something in the works,” recalled Almario, who is also the school director at The Raya School and mother to 4-yearold Jacinta. Added Asa Almario Montenejo, another Adarna official: “We were consciously looking for YA material because there are very few YA novels in Filipino.” An architect by training, Almario-Montenejo is director for marketing at the publishing house who had lived for ten years in California as a fulltime homemaker who also ran an online crafts shop.
Samar’s last novel sparked Almario’s interest in his next work. “When we were thinking of coming up with YA titles, we wondered who out there could cross over. Egay was our first choice. He was already there at opposite ends—kids and adults—so he could marry them together.” The serendipitous contact led to Samar writing the first draft in just a month. The book was first released at the Summer Komikon on April 12, and can now be found in bookstores. That one book quickly turned into a trilogy, as all classic YA titles should be. “We talked
SERIES STARTERS. (From left) Edgar Samar, Ani Almario and Asa Montenejo PHOTOS BY JILSON SECKLER TIU
about turning it into a series,” Almario said. While acknowledging that some people would see it as an attempt at doing a Pinoy Harry Potter, she said that she saw it as more like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Along those lines, several plot elements are thus left hanging at the end of “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon,” leading the reader to the next book. Mixing magic with modernity, this audacious attempt at a YA franchise outside of graphic novels and romances is also a calculated one. The Almario sisters identify “Janus Silang’s” target audience to be tweens www.canadianinquirer.net
and teens, (their official target is 13 years and up). Ani Almario however noted that adults she had talked with readily admitted to reading YA novels, books she initially thought were too young for the 20-somethings. “I think there’s a resurgence of adults reading YA books,” she said. Samar agreed. “I imagine this is the only book my high school friends would actually read and enjoy.” “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon” begins with the titular hero, a 13-year-old boy with an online RPG called “TALA Online,” TALA meaning Terra Anima Legion of Anitos. But when teenagers die in a computer shop (guess what they have in common), Janus is pulled into a dark, actionpacked conspiracy that brings him face to face with the reimagined tiyanak. The monster is not what you expect. Modernizing mythology has been a wonderful font for Filipino creators, particularly in graphic literature where Arnold Arre made it groovy in his graphic novel “The Mythology Class,” while the team of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo made it urban in their ongoing “Trese” series. Even cable TV has been in on the trend, with the ubiquitous aswang making an appearance on the American TV series, “Grimm.” Samar clearly savored the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the tiyanak. “I was just really excited with the mythmaking in this first book, with the way I thought I had reimagined
the tiyanak. And in this second book, I reimagine another popular myth, but to say more would be a spoiler.” “This is not the tiyanak of Janice de Belen,” Almario added, referring to the cult classic 1988 horror film directed by Peque Gallaga, that featured actress de Belen and what is, for the longest time, the accepted version of the tiyanak. Aside from being the start of a trilogy, “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon” also represents Adarna’s bold step into the digital realm. Almario-Montenejo explained that the website Janus visits in the book—talarchives.net—actually exists. “Right now, it has information about the book and we hope to build a community around it,” she added. Janus Silang even has his own (in character) Facebook account, the older Almario sister said. “We’re really hoping people would contribute their fan art and fan fiction when they finally get to know the world of Janus Silang,” she added. Beyond the technological evolution, Samar’s book is also edgier fare for Adarna, complete with swear words and a darker complexity than expected based on its previous titles. The second title in Samar’s trilogy has the working title “Si Janus Silang at ang Digmaang Manananggal-Mambabarang,” and hints of an expanding world for the hero. It is due in November this year, while the third volume comes out in early 2015. ■
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Matters of Motherhood BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer “YOU REALLY are quite the mother hen, Angie!”; the booming, heavily accented voice of a long-time Australian family friend (who, in the spirit of extended kin, we have always called “Uncle”) resounded, as I chased after a niece in an almost futile attempt to put some bug repellant on her while she played in the garden. I pondered for a moment, and came to the conclusion that I, in true hen-like fashion, do tend to “mother” people; seeking to keep them safe underneath my wing. My daughter would likely say that I am a rather overprotective, worry-wart of a mother hen. And to that I say, “Cluck, cluck.” That’s the way the wattle wiggles, I suppose. But this wasn’t always the case. I was, at some point, decidedly quite the opposite of a mother hen. Missing mothering instinct?
In my teens, and well into my young adulthood, I never thought I would want kids. I was always so full of reasons and excuses not to have little brats. Among the top: “Now why would I want to bring kids into a world such as this???”, and the classic “I’m not cut out for it.” I felt that my “mothering instinct” was nowhere to be found, and maybe I should put out an ad for it on the back of a milk carton or print some flyers to put up around the neighbourhood. “Missing: Mothering Instinct. If found, please return to Angie Duarte. Reward.” But that started to change as I grew into my late twenties. Some would blame it on the ticking and tocking of the biological clock, perhaps; others, on the fact that many of my friends were already well into their 2nd and 3rd little tykes. I don’t know what it was. I just know that I found myself
ogling teeny-tiny outfits, displayed ever-so-cutely in shop windows, with a tad of longing. Just a tad. Mothering matters
The whole issue concerning the mothering instinct is still highly debated and largely contested. In 2008, a study entitled “The functional neuroanatomy of maternal love: mother's response to infant's attachment behaviors”, conducted by researchers in Tokyo, seemed to prove that a mother’s impulse to love and protect her child is hard-wired into her brain. With the aid of functional magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.), researchers studied the brain patterns of 13 mothers with infant babies of around 16 months old. The babies were filmed smiling at their mothers during playtime in the research facility’s playroom. Then, the mothers were asked to leave the room, and the babies were filmed crying and reaching for their mommies (cue collective “awwww” here.) The mothers were then made to watch the video playback, while they were being scanned. Brain waves showed that the mothers not only responded more actively to their own babies, but also responded more intensely to the videos of the babies in distress. Research authors noted that this may prove “to be biologically meaningful in terms of adaptation to specific demands associated with successful infant care.” The study which was published online by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (http://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov ) also concludes that their “results showed the highly elaborate neural mechanism mediating maternal love and diverse and complex maternal behaviors for vigilant protectiveness.” In English, a mother’s brain seems equipped with the mechanisms that allow for nurture and protection of their babies.
Of course, the study did not include fathers, who—as many argue—are possibly just as instinctively nurturing as their female-parent counterparts. Yet other studies on hormones point towards biological reasons for the mothering disposition. The hormone oxytocin (also given to induce labour and childbirth) was injected into female Rhesus lab monkeys that had no mothering experience, and the monkeys started behaving motherly towards unfamiliar infants. Still other research indicates that a gene could be responsible for mothering. A study conducted on mice by Jennifer Brown and Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School indicated that a new strain of mice created without the gene fosB—but having sufficient levels of oxytocin—neglected their offspring, allowing them to die of cold and starvation. The mice with the fosB gene, on the other hand, cared for their pinkies (baby mice.) Interestingly, the same study was conducted on male mice, with similar results: those with the fosB gene retrieved their pinkies, while those without it abandoned them. And of course, there exists the whole contest between mothering as nature (instinct) or nurture (learned.) Experiments done by Carolyn Zahn-Waxler at the National Institute of Mental Health provide some insight on the matter. Zahn-Walker studied the behaviour of 2-year-old boys and girls around crying babies, and found that the girls showed more sympathy for the babies than the boys did. The boys restrained themselves from reacting, while the girls would pat the babies on the head. This indicates that a human female's tendency to "care" seems to begin at an early age; either as behaviour learned from their own mothers, or ”built in” to them. Matters of mothering, because mothering matters.
The author with daughter Andie.
Looking in her big brown eyes
I honestly cannot pinpoint where I stand on these issues— I have yet to make an informed decision. I DO know, however, that the day my daughter Andie was born is the day my life changed forever. I’ll never forget it. Andie’s Dad and I walked into the Lamaze labour room; a touch anxious, but more confident and self-assured than anything else. I was, after all, the Lamaze class’ “star” student, so why would I NOT have an easy enough, natural birthing experience??? I came prepared; birthing plan in hand, photocopied in 5. I handed copies out to each intern. They looked at me with what seemed a combination of wonder, stupor, ridicule and disbelief. A chortle or two of derision; an exchange of bitingly condescending looks: “This crazy woman has NO idea what she’s REALLY in for…” Thirteen hours bordering on forever of oxytocin-induced labour (thanks to an already torn water bag and to a non-cooperative cervix), I found myself screaming at the interns to get
the doctor. Lamaze shmamaze. I just wanted to pop this baby already. “Now THAT’s more like it,” the interns must have thought, as they gave me patronizing looks. Long story short, I—the star student—was the only one of the class that ended up delivering via emergency C-section. Thus, I hear the sound of my ego-balloon deflating, in a very pathetic way. But all that hardly mattered, as the doctor pulled Andie out and held her up for us to see, in a very Simba cub at Pride Rock moment. My heart swelled, as tears of joy—and relief— streamed down my face. Her oh-so elated Dad, with marching orders to follow our daughter wherever they took her until she was properly cleaned and tagged with her little pink bracelet, chased after the hospital trolley with our precious cargo on board. I was wheeled into the recovery room, but not until after we stopped at the nursery, where Andie—crying her lungs out in ❱❱ PAGE 31 Matters of
29 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
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MAY 9, 2014
Don’t be Mum about Mom: Ideas for Mother’s Day BY CHING DEE Philippine Canadian Inquirer ADMIT IT: we’ve never really shown our matriarchs the love and appreciation that we ought to give them. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. With the fast-paced lifestyle of today, we’ve somehow forgotten to give enough attention and gratitude to the one who endured and carried us for nine months—the one who raised us to become who we are today. I believe it’s truly fitting that there’s a special day for moms all around the world to be celebrated. In an ideal world, it should be celebrated every day. But every second Sunday of May, we’re given the license to be oh-so-cheesy when it comes to honoring our mommy dearest. ‘Mothering Sunday’
Mother’s Day is also known as “Mothering Sunday.” Although we have to admit, it sounds somewhat ominous rather than festive. Its roots date back to ancient civilizations of the Greeks and the Romans. In fact, the earliest record of a mother’s day celebration was during the annual spring festival to honor the goddesses of motherhood or maternity. In the modern times, we have Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis to thank for this annual celebration of matriarchy. They paved the way for this special day to be established and honored not just in the United States, but around the world as well. Today, over 46 countries celebrate mother’s day in various traditions and different dates throughout the year. Keep mommy busy (in a good way)
In a poll published on MYTime.com, it shows that “for Mother's Day, 73% of moms expect to either be going out to
eat or doing what they normally do on any other day.” That would be great, but it’s mother’s day—you have to at least try to pull out all the stops for the greatest woman in your life. The MYTime article also said that “the top four Mother's Day activities that moms prefer are taking an out-of-town trip (23%), getting some pampering at a spa (20%), taking it easy while others do household chores (16%), or visiting a salon (13%).” Now we’re talkin’. Start off the day with the infallible breakfast in bed ( just make sure you know first). Keep it simple and keep it clean: scrambled eggs, warm croissants, a pat or two of butter, juice or coffee, some crispy bacon or ham and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to add a few thoughtful touches: a loving note, a single rose, a printed photo of the family. Playing on the premise of pampering your mom, why not give her a stress-free Sunday—no kids or grandkids to take care of, no household chores, no business/work emails or calls, nothing but relaxation. Get her a gift certificate at a reputable spa—and if you can afford it—with lavish treatments to take her stresses away. A full-body massage with essential oils? A luxurious foot spa? A mud bath? An oxygen facial? If it’ll take your mom’s cares away even for just a day, why not give it a shot? You can also consult beauty experts online by doing some research or by visiting a salon. Armed with enough beauty knowledge, why not treat your mom to a makeover? Or maybe even just a new haircut, a mani-pedi session, a hot oil treatment—you know, the works. And you know what’s an even better way to end a day of pampering? Organize a romantic dinner for two for your mom and your dad. Or—if you think she’ll prefer it—get her a hotel suite that she can enjoy away from the worries of home.
You might also consider setting up a reading or relaxing nook in your backyard with a nice comfy seat and a few good magazines or books, perhaps a glass or two or mimosa (or your mom’s favorite drink), and just let her soak up the afternoon sun as she enjoys a good read—a fuss-free quiet time for herself without having to leave the premises. If this is all just too much to absorb, I’m sure your mom would be pretty happy just relaxing at home with you as her personal butler for the day. Not having to lift a finger to keep the house clean and the family fed is probably enough to make your mother happy on her special day. Gifts for the Giver
Personally, I believe it’s safe to say that mothers are the most selfless human beings in the planet. It’s just my personal opinion. I think there’s no greater gift than the gift of life. And choosing to subject one’s body to agonizing torture of birthing a child to this world after nine months of gestation is just beyond me. I may never understand why billions of women do it, or why my mom did it in the first place. All I know is that I’m eternally grateful and I sure hope she thinks it’s all worth it. So, what do you give someone as a thank you for giving and sustaining your life? It’s a pretty tall order, but it’s not an impossible feat. According to MYTime.com, “even though 52% of men will give the moms in their lives flowers or cards for Mother's Day, only 16% of moms actually want those gifts.” Ouch. Not a very encouraging statistic, but hold on—have faith. The article also said that “the top three gifts that moms prefer are something creative that involves family photos (23%), a gift certificate for a massage or facial (21%), or a gift certificate for a salon visit (17%).” Now you know what to do. Well, sort of. In 2013, “the most popular amount of money to spend on Mother's Day is $21 to $50 (25%), followed by $51 to $100 (24%) and $11 to $20 (19%). Only 7% of guys say they will spend less than $10.” (Source: MYTime.com)
I am a firm believer of “it’s the thought that counts.” But if it makes my mom happy—even for just a day—perhaps being more willing to shell out some cash would be a good start. Mother’s day just happens once a year anyway. Planning ahead would also be a good idea. In fact, this might make a difference this year, since “42% of men will make plans either a few days before Mother's Day or will wait until the day itself.” This is neither comforting nor upsetting since “6% of men admit that in the past they have forgotten Mother's Day altogether.” But this is what this article is for—to give ideas a few days before that fated day. Without having to leave the comforts of your apartment, you can shop for your mom. Almost all stores have online shops nowadays, so all you really have t do is click on your purchase. For the geeky moms who enjoy fandom swag and what-nots, check out Think Geek. For your very own Martha Stewart, go ahead and get her that MS merch at the real Martha Stewart’s online shop. For the ageless beauty that is your mother (or wife), get the best cosmetics and apparel based on The Independent’s ‘Top 50 Best Online Clothing Shops.’ You might also want to consider buying mommy a new gadget. According to a study conducted by Nielsen—the world’s leading media research firm— about the ‘Digital Lives of American Moms,’ 61% of moms are more like to visit Pinterest compared to the average American. Around 27.9M Facebook users are mothers and 50% of moms actively participate in social media using their mobile devices. For more ideas about what to get your mom, check out Lucky Magazine’s ‘Best Shopping Sites For Busy Moms’ and Babble.com’s ‘Top 50 Shopping Sites for Moms.’ And of course, do not forget to browse through Pinterest for mommy day ideas—it’s a gold mine. Just make sure you put aside enough time for it because time passes by quickly when you’re browsing through the #DIY tags. ■
31 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Matters of... protest—was being bathed, allowing me one last look ‘til later. Hours after, as I held Andie in my arms and stared deeply into her beautiful, big brown eyes, I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. This little one, swaddled in customary pink like some kind of papoose Barbie doll, had in that moment become the main reason for my being. American teacher and author, Elizabeth Stone said that “Making the decision to have a child—it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” Truer words have never been spoken; ever. ❰❰ 28
Mothers are people, too
Fifteen years after that day, my daughter is still my life’s core. I have learned, though, that mothers are—first and foremost—individuals, too.
People with their own unique dreams and aspirations; the fulfillment of which makes them better as women and mothers. “Mother” does not necessarily mean “martyr,” although many times, the definitions may seem synonymous. Mothers should not be faulted for wanting a life beyond the very wonderful role they have been given. Sadly, mass media and pop culture have reinforced societal expectations, making it rather difficult for mothers to pursue their own dreams without being judged. Yes, that mentality exists to this day and age; albeit not as pervasive as in years gone by. Perhaps the best Mother’s Day gift that one can give is the realization that your mother is her own person, too. There comes a freedom for all, when this realization becomes active revelation, and you “release”
your mother to be all she can be. I would never trade being a mom; not in a million years, not ever. I would never trade being Andie’s “Mama,” to be precise. But I am deeply grateful that I have been given the space to see my other aspirations come to pass. Have I always made the best choices, as a woman and mother—HECK, NO. I have had to pick up the pieces that have crashed loudly and resoundingly to the ground, as a result of bad decisions. But I do my best to move forward, to be the best me I can be; in hopes that my daughter will be better than I ever was. Poem for a daughter
I leave you with a poem I wrote for my daughter, on the occasion of her fourteenth birthday. It speaks volumes; resounding my heart, as a mother:
Where to take mom on a date on Mother’s Day BY THESSA SANDOVAL Special to Philippine Canadian Inquirer SHE CARRIED you in her womb for nine long months. She took good care of you until you were ready to stand on your own two feet. She loved you from the day you were born. And she will continue to do so for the rest of her life. Yes, that’s mom. Having said all of that, wouldn’t it just be fair to spend time with her on the special day that’s made to celebrate all mothers? Mom will appreciate anything you give her for sure, but the gift of time and the gift of experience would mean so much more. Here’s a whole day worth of activities you and mom can do together in Toronto on Mother’s Day: A royal brunch for the queen of your life
Bring mom to a place fit for a queen. Start your date by taking her to Canada’s majestic castle, Casa Loma, and treating her to a royal, sumptuous brunch. Guests are allowed to explore the castle after the meal. Seats
PHOTO FROM TORONTOBOTANICALGARDEN.CA
get sold out fast, so make sure to call ahead of time and make a reservation before coming. Location: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace
chocolate and give you tips on tea selection and brewing. Location: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave. East Play dress up in your imagination
Tea for two and chocolate too
Tea and chocolate is a pair no one can ever resist. The Toronto Botanical Garden will be hosting a Mother’s Day Tea and Truffle Pairing event from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. While you enjoy fine tea in vintage china, a certified tea sommelier will demonstrate the versatility of teas paired with certain types of
You must have loved playing dress up when you were young. Maybe, mom did too when she was little. Reminisce those memories and satisfy your imagination by seeing the historic shoe and clothing collections on display right now in museums. ❱❱ PAGE 32 Where to
For Andie, on your fourteenth Birthday From your Mama I look back upon The day of your birth The joy and the wonder, Like none on this earth As I held you close Your heartbeat on mine Kept rhythms of love To music divine. Upon your face, I gazed Cradling you near My heart filled with joy And eyes brimmed with tears In your tiny eyes sparkled A love, there reflected The strongest of bonds By life, unaffected. The years, onward rolled Like waves of the ocean I watched with each tide As you grew to perfection. From baby to toddler, To little girl, all too quickly Adolescent to teen; The years have flown swiftly. I cherish each moment, Each day that we share The person you are, A treasure so rare. The giggles at bedtime The sweet morning kisses Even the mundane Like homework and dishes These are the memories That make me complete They make life worth living To the bitter, give sweet. Though life hasn’t turned out Quite as expected Parents, imperfect Dreams, unprotected You manage to smile Through the heartache and tears Understanding and wisdom Beyond fourteen years. For you, I believe And desire the best I pray you stay strong Whatever the test. I hope that you soar High above life and its failures When disappointment sets in That you rise and you conquer. Whatever the path Upon which you journey To my heart, you return If at times you grow weary. There is so much That remains to be spoken Blank pages for filling Stories yet to be woven If there is one thing that I want you to know Forever, for always My love with you will go; And whatever my dreams As a woman may be Through each passing year I hope that you see My number one dream Had come to fruition The day you were born Most precious creation.
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 32
Are you ready to be HONORED IN EVERY WAY: Celebrating Mother’s Day in a first time mom? Multicultural Canada BY KATHERINE MARFALTEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer
WHEN DOES motherhood start? Well, at least for me, the very moment that I saw the two pink lines in the pregnancy kit—I knew then that I am already a mother. As soon as a woman gets pregnant, there are many sacrifices that she has to make. She needs to accept that her body is now bigger, her skin is now darker, her lifestyle will take a full swing and her whole life will change. And after those nine months, there are more sacrifices that needs to be done. But would-be moms need not worry because the moment she sees her newborn for the first time, she will know that it will be worth it. If you are a first time mom and you are still anxious about playing this role, here are some helpful tips from experts and other first time moms like you. 1. Embrace the change. After giving birth, you will surely notice physical and emotional changes in you. Expect to still carry the excess fats that you have incurred while pregnant. Your skin may still be darker as opposed to your pre-pregnancy skin.
2. Allow your mom to help you out. After giving birth, it is likely that you have not yet regained your energy. Your mom is the best person to ask help from. She definitely knows a thing or two about caring for infants, seek advice from her. 3. Be ready to breastfeed. You should not be in a hurry to bring back your pre-pregnancy weight because you need all the nutrients that you can get to breastfeed your child. It is not yet time to go on a crash diet or engage in an exhausting exercise routine. Anyway, you will automatically lose weight as you breastfeed. 4. Be patient with yourself. Don’t be frustrated easily when you didn’t do a task right. Remember that it is just your first time. Give yourself the time to learn all the things, starting from how to change diaper properly, what to do when your baby cries, choosing the best baby products to communicating effectively with your newborn. 5. Bond with your husband once in a while. Your priorities will surely change as soon as you give birth. But this is not a reason to ignore your relationship with your husband. Find time to go out on a date. You can leave your newborn with
BY CHING DEE Philippine Canadian Inquirer PEOPLE IN Canada are blessed to have the privilege of celebrating occasions in a country that embraces different cultures and traditions. As with most countries, Mother’s Day is a big deal in Canada. But how do different communities celebrate mom’s day now that they’ve moved to the Great White North? Here are just some of the ways that various nations honor their moms on this special day. Canada’s Mother's Day cookie cake
Every second Sunday of May, Canadians celebrate mother’s day by giving gifts and simple family gatherings in honor of mothers, grandmothers, and other motherly figures in the family. According to Wikipedia, “a Québécois tradition is for Québécois men to offer roses or other flowers to the women.” And based on further research, a cookie cake is one of the most popular mother’s day gifts. Now that is yummy, mommy. China and Carnations
❱❱ PAGE 38 Are you
In China, mothers are hon-
Get closer to mom, discover her talents
be a few things you don’t know about her until now. What if she has a hidden talent? What if she can paint like Picasso? On Mother’s Day weekend, the Paintlounge in Toronto will be offering a discount on freestyle painting sessions. Get creative and discover the hidden artist in mom. Location: Viva Tastings, St. Lawrence’s Farmer’s Market, 92 Front St. East (It’s catering kitchen facility is located at 52 Henry St.) Paintlounge, 784 College St.
ored by giving them carnations. In fact, more flowers are sold in China on mother’s day compared to any other occasions in the republic. Originally, mother’s day was celebrated to commemorate the poor mothers in the countryside and remind people to extend their help. India’s Matr Dinam
A simple Google search showed that “in India, mothers are considered as god to their children.” The day is called मातृ दिनम् or matr dinam in Sanskrit. Wikipedia expounds that in “Hindu tradition, mothers are paid homage to on Saraswati pooja day dur-
ing Devi Navratri, with ‘Maatri Pooja’ (worship of mother).” Indonesia’s Hari Ibu
Indonesians call mother’s day “Hari Ibu” and it is celebrated every December 22nd thanks to President Soekarno and the Presidential Decree No. 316 in 1953. The presidential decree was passed to “celebrate the spirit of Indonesian women and to improve the condition of the nation.” Much like in other countries, Indonesians honor their mothers by giving flowers and gifts. Some families also hold surprise ❱❱ PAGE 38 Celebrating Mother's
Where to... Visit the Bata Shoe Museum to see a collection of over 13,000 shoes, ranging from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to diamondencrusted Christian Louboutin pumps. All footwear on display will surely make you and mom feel Imeldific. The Textile Museum of Canada, on the other hand, has an ongoing exhibition showcasing the kimonos worn by famous geisha and singer Ichimaru. Aside from her magnificent kimonos, other personal effects are on display too. Location: Bata Museum, 327 Bloor St. West Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave. ❰❰ 31
It is safe to say that almost all Filipino moms love to cook— and they are talented in it. Why not attend a class where mom can enjoy her passion and where you can learn new skills as well? Viva Tastings at St. Lawrence’s Farmers Market offers twohour classes in a professional catering kitchen, where you learn cooking techniques from experienced chef instructors. You will also get the chance to taste each dish prepared at the end of the class at a communal table with a glass of wine. An experience like this will make you feel closer to mom. However, no matter how close you are, there may still
Go cruising together
They say cruising is made for love, so why not take mom on a cruise for dinner? Jubilee Queen Cruise Lines has a threewww.canadianinquirer.net
Mother and child.
hour dinner tour on Mother’s Day. Feast on a fabulous meal prepared by an award-winning chef while enjoying a tour of the Toronto Islands and Toronto Harbour. A caricature artist will be on board as well, offering free sketches for moms. Location: Jubilee Queen Cruise Lines Office, 249 Queens
PHOTO BY DIN JIMENEZ / FLICKR / CC BY 2.0
Quay West Jubilee Queen Cruise Ship, 539 Queens Quay West After spoiling her all day, there is one more thing left to do. That is to tell her: “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! Happy Mother’s Day, Inay! You are the best. I love you.” ■
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Heart Evangelista ready to be Mrs. Escudero Philippine Canadian Inquirer
Aunor won her seventh Urian Best Actress trophy last year for Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Thy Womb.” Santos, who is the incumbent governor of Batangas, won her last for Chito Roño’s “Dekada ’70” in 2002. PHOTO FROM SPOT.PH
Guy vs Vi again for the critics BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer LONGTIME RIVALS Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos are once again being pitted against each other in the battle for Best Actress at the 37th Gawad Urian in June. Aunor earned a nomination for her performance “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti,” a Mes de Guzman drama; Santos, for her work in the Jeffrey Jeturian satire, “Ekstra.” Equal chances
“Even other artists are worried when they are nominated alongside Nora and Vilma. They feel like they don’t stand a chance,” said Mario Hernando, a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which organizes the annual event. “But everyone has equal chances. Other actresses who may have turned out more complicated performances, could bring home the award.” Aunor won her seventh Urian Best Actress trophy last year for Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Thy Womb.” Santos, who is the incumbent governor of Batangas,
won her last for Chito Roño’s “Dekada ’70” in 2002. The other Best Actress nominees this year: Angeli Bayani for “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”; Cherie Gil, “Sonata”; Eugene Domingo, “Instant Mommy”; Rustica Carpio, “Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?”; Agot Isidro, “Mga Anino ng Kahapon”; Vivian Velez, “Bendor”; Teri Malvar, “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita”; and Lorna Tolentino, “Burgos.” “There were many good materials for our actresses in 2013. It was a good year,” said Manunuri president Grace Javier Alfonso during the Urian media launch on Tuesday at ABSCBN Compound in Quezon City. Competition is tight all around, said Ronald Arquelles, channel head of Cinema One, which has been producing the awards show for four years now. Diaz’s “Norte” and Lao’s “Dukit” both have 10 nominations, Arguelles pointed out. More nominees
Nominees for Best Actor are: Mark Gil for “A Philipino Story”; Joel Torre, “On the Job”; Mimi Juareza, “Quick Change”; Sid Lu-
cero, “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”; Ping Medina, “Transit”; Jhong Hilario, “Badil”; and Alex Medina, “Babagwa.” The winner for Best Picture will be chosen from the following: “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “On the Job,” “Transit,” “Ekstra,” “Riddles of My Homecoming,” “Badil,” “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti,” “Porno” and “Dukit.”
WITH CERTAINTY, Heart Evangelista said that she will be Mrs. Chiz Escudero soon. This, she revealed in an interview with the Yahoo! Philippines during the "Cream Silk at 30" anniversary party. “Well I think we've set, like he already fixed his household and everything. So eventually I'm probably going to move in to that,” she said. She added: “It's not really so much an effort for me to learn how to cook and everything 'cause there's already a cook. But you know, little things… I've learned to cook na rin and stuff, and I'm also very domesticated myself so I think I won't have a hard time adjusting.” Chiz quits smoking
Heart is also glad that her boyfriend has finally stopped smoking. “That's good, because now that we've found each other in this
crazy world, we'd like to really live a long life together. And I'm so thrilled, so happy and super supportive that he quit smoking,” the 29-year-old actress said. “Now he gets to do other things he never got to do before, like he can run, he's on the treadmill longer and then he's eating nice. So it's really nice that he's taken that shift in life,” she added. When asked about her thoughts on being the future First Lady, she said: “Many people ask me if he's going to run for a higher position. Honestly, I don't hear him or he doesn't do anything. It’s funny because they probably think na all about politics—eat and they play and that's all they talk about. But no, we just really talk about our life together.” “If it's really for him, then it's for him. But if it's not, I'm really okay with just being Mrs. Escudero. I've had my fill of being in the public eye, so I'm already okay with just living a quiet life,” she concluded. ■
“The Manunuri has 10 members. This means a film or an actor needs only six votes to win,” explained founding member and National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera. “However, there are times when we reconsider our choices, especially when another member is able to defend his or her choice well,” added Hernando. Competing for the Best Director trophy are: Erik Matti for “On the Job”; Lav Diaz, “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”; Jeffrey Jeturian, “Ekstra”; Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, “Sonata”; Arnel Mardoquio, “Riddles of My HomeHeart Evangelista with boyfriend Sen. Chiz Escudero. ❱❱ PAGE 34 Guy vs
PHOTO FROM HEART'S FACEBOOK PAGE
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 34
Review: Fun, but superficial ‘Here Lies Love’ brings great music to Imelda Marcos’ story BY DEEPTI HAJELA The Associated Press NEW YORK—It’s got a good beat, for sure. And you’re going to dance to it, or, at the very least, move around. Mainly because it’s either that or get smushed by a moving set. “Here Lies Love,” David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s musical about the life of Imelda Marcos is energetic, catchy and entertaining but ultimately kind of slight. Back for another run at The Public Theater, the 90-minute, all-music production puts the audience in a dance club, flashing lights and all. Aside from some onlookers on an upper level, the majority of the audience stands on the floor, with stages running along the walls and in the cen-
tre of the room. Throughout the show, members of the crew move people around like extras as the stages are rolled around and the energetic cast moves from section to section. The show recounts Marcos’ humble origins; her unsuccessful romance with Benigno Aquino, who would later oppose her husband; and her whirlwind courtship and life with Ferdinand Marcos. It shows her disillusionment with her life, as well as her addiction to all things opulent, and goes into the strife and turmoil that led to the “People Power” revolution in 1989 that saw Marcos’ flee the country after years of iron-fisted rule. It’s a well-done telling, and the show stays away from overthe-top caricature—there’s no
mention of Imelda Marcos’ famous shoe collection, for example. The cast, led by Ruthie Ann Miles as Imelda Marcos and Jose Llana as her husband, are uniformly strong performers. But it also feels a little simple—poor girl, looking for love whether from her husband or the people of her country, hiding her sorrow in controlled substances and compulsive shopping on a national scale. But the actual history of the Marcoses, and the Philippines, was much darker than that, something that’s not really brought home to the audience. The show’s music is the highlight—infectious, covering different styles and making it easy for the audience to want to dance along. The lyrics are taken from actual interviews
Marian Rivera to stage a contest for Mother’s Day Philippine Canadian Inquirer IN CELEBRATION of mother’s day, Kapuso actress Marian Rivera will stage a contest for her Instagram followers. Marian explained the mechanics: “Ita-tag nila ako ng picture nila ng nanay niya at sasagutin nila ’yung tanong ko na kung ‘Gaano mo kamahal ang nanay mo at ano ang kaya mong gawin para sa kanya?’” (They should tag me with their mother and daughter picture and they will answer the question, “How much do you love your mom and what are you willing to do for her?”) Two mother-and-daughter pairs will be chosen and will have a chance to meet and greet the cast of GMA-7 series “Carmela.” The winners will be announced on May 7. Excited to be a mom
In an interview with “Chika Minute,” Marian revealed that motherhood is not really far from her plans. In fact, there
Marian Rivera with boyfriend Dingdong Dantes. PHOTO FROMFACEBOOK PAGE OF MARIAN RIVERA
are instances when she visualizes herself as a mom to not just one, but to many children. She added that her boyfriend Dingdong Dantes also wants to have many children in the future. The 29-year-old actress knows that being a mom poses new challenges, but she doesn’t mind going through all these. Mother’s Day plans
Mother’s Day will always be
special for Marian because she celebrates it with the two most important moms in her life: her mother, whom she calls “mama,” and her grandmother, whom she calls “nanay.” And on this special day, she plans to take her mom and grandma to a resort in Bataan, “Magge-get together, baka magouting kami.” (We will have a get together and go on an outing.) ■ www.canadianinquirer.net
The show recounts Imelda Marcos’ humble origins. PHOTO FROM WILLIAMREMPEL.COM
and speeches, adding a certain poignancy. The show also uses video projections, and during moments like a political cam-
paign, cameras that show the actual audience as well. ■ Online: http://herelieslove.com
Guy vs... coming”; Hannah Espia, “Transit”; Alvin Yapan, “Mga Anino ng Kahapon”; Whammy Alcazaren, “Islands”; Chito Roño, “Badil”; Mes de Guzman, “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti”; Adolfo Alix Jr., “Porno; and Bing Lao, “Dukit.” Filmmaker and cinematographer Mike de Leon is this year’s recipient of the Natatanging Gawad Urian. The Gawad Urian will be held June 17 at ABS-CBN studios. It will be hosted by Piolo Pascual and Bianca Gonzalez, along with Manunuri member Butch Francisco. It will be aired on the same night, at 10 p.m., on Cinema One. Nominees for Best Supporting Actor: Junjun Quintana, “A Philippino Story”; Art Acuña, “Kabisera”; John Arcilla, “Metro Manila”; Joey Marquez, “On the Job”; Yul Servo, “Porno”; Carlo Aquino, “Porno”; Victor Basa, “Lauriana”; Cesar Montano, “Alamat ni China Doll”; Archie Alemania, “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”; and Bor Ocampo, “Dukit.” ❰❰ 33
Best Supporting Actress: An-
gel Aquino, “Ang Huling ChaCha ni Anita” and “Porno”; Mitch Smith, “Angustia”; Ruby Ruiz, “Ekstra”; Jasmine Curtis Smith, “Transit”; and Raquel Villavicencio, “Dukit.” Best Screenplay: “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “On the Job,” “Badil,” “Transit,” “Babagwa,” “Porno,” “Death March” and “Dukit.” Best Production Design: “Sonata,” “Riddles of My Homecoming,” “On the Job,” “Ekstra,” “Porno,” “Shift” and “Dukit.” Best Music: “Lauriana,” “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “Riddles of My Homecoming,” “Sonata,” and “Dukit.” Cinematography
Best Cinematography: “Riddles of My Homecoming,” “Transit,” “On the Job,” “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “Porno,” “Islands” and “Dukit.” Best Editing: “On the Job,” “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “Riddles of My Homecoming,” “Porno,” “Transit” and “Dukit.” Best Sound: “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “On the Job,” “Ekstra,” “Transit,” “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti,” “Death March” and “Dukit.” ■
35 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
“Barber’s Tales” wins award in Italy Philippine Canadian Inquirer
Eugene Domingo received the award for “Baber’s Tales.” PHOTO FROM HER FACEBOOK PAGE
JUN LANA’S “Barber’s Tales” won the 3rd Place Audience Award at the 2014 Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy on Saturday, May 3. The award-winning director announced the good news on Facebook on Sunday, May 4. He added that lead actress Eugene Domingo, who attended the festival and received the award, relayed to him the news.
“Congratulations!!! Our screening was FULL HOUSE & SOLD OUT. And at the end they were clapping endlessly! Buong CBB until matapos extended,” Domingo said in a text message to Lana. “At naiyak na lang ako … sa halo halong emosyon may kasama nang jetlag at sa music ni Ryan Cayabyab!” she added. (And I just cried…with the mixed of emotions combined with jetlag and Ryan Cayabyab’s music!)
This was already the second international honor received by the film. Eugene also won Best Actress when the film premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October last year. ”Barber’s Tales,” which is a story about a submissive wife who takes over her chauvinistic husband’s barber shop after his death, is the second film in the trilogy. “Bwakaw” was the first. “Ama Namin” is the planned third film. ■
Snapped clip suspected in circus hair hanging stunt gone wrong; 2 critically hurt BY MICHELLE R. SMITH AND ERIKA NIEDOWSKI The Associated Press PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Investigators suspect that a snapped clip sent eight aerial acrobats plummeting 20 feet or more during a daring performance, an experience one injured performer likened to a “plunge into darkness.” The clip, a common type called a carabiner that’s used for everything from rock climbing to holding keyrings, was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that suspended the performers, fire officials said. After the accident, the 4- to 5-inch steel clip was found in three pieces on the ground with its spine snapped. Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare stopped short of saying the carabiner caused Sunday’s accident at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus, witnessed by about 3,900 people, many of them children. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying
to make a final determination. “We don’t know if it was metal fatigue, if it wasn’t properly positioned or something else,” Pare said. “We just don’t know.” Two of the acrobats were in critical condition Monday and all eight were still hospitalized with injuries including a pierced liver and neck and back fractures, as well as head injuries. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, said Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company. The women are from the United States, Brazil, Bulgaria and Ukraine, the circus said. A dancer on the ground was also injured and was released from the hospital Sunday. “We are hopeful that all of these performers will achieve a full recovery and be able to return to the show at some point,” Payne said. Roitner Neves, the father of one of the injured women, Widny Neves, said she broke her right arm and suffered back and neck fractures. Widny Neves, who had been travelling with the circus for more than four years,
was the in the centre of the apparatus and was upside down when it fell, her father said. “It was like a plunge into darkness,” he said. She is 25 and from Joinville, Brazil, where her family owns a circus academy. “In this profession, you run the risk of being injured,” Roitner Neves said. “It’s like being a race car driver or a gymnast. There’s always the risk.” Two women, Dayana Costa and Julissa Segrera, were listed in critical condition. Another injured acrobat, Stefany Neves, fractured both ankles and had her liver pierced by her ribs, her sister Renata Neves told TV Globo’s G1, a Brazilian Internet news portal. She was in serious condition. The performers—called “hairialists”—hang from their hair during the act, which includes choreography and spinning, hanging from hoops, and rolling down wrapped silks while suspended as high as 40 feet. Video by audience members shows a curtain dropping to reveal the eight women hanging from the apparatus. Seconds
later, as they begin to perform, the women fall, and the apparatus lands on them. The women landed on a rubber floor covering that isn’t meant as a safety backup, Payne said. The hair-hanging stunt is described on the circus’ website as being the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Andrey and Viktoriya Medeiros. The woman is among the injured. The equipment has been used dozens of times per week since the beginning of the year, and a circus crew had installed it last week, Payne said. The crew also inspects it, he said, and performers generally check their own rigging. Feld said Monday that it did not know why the carabiner failed, and that it is replacing each one in the show before the next performance, on Thursday in Hartford, Connecticut. The hair act will not be performed in Hartford, but other aerial acts will and will be fully inspected beforehand, the company said. The carabiner had a 10,000-pound rating, and the circus reported the performers and apparatus were 1,500
pounds, said Paul Doughty, of the Providence Fire Department. State and city officials have no role in inspecting such equipment, authorities said. OSHA records show just a handful of investigations of the circus in the past two decades. Last year, a federal jury in Virginia awarded two brothers a $114,400 judgment. The brothers, who do a juggling act on horseback, argued that Ringling ignored concerns about placing the horse act immediately after a tiger act, saying the horses were spooked by the presence and scent of the tigers, creating a safety risk. Feld is appealing the verdict. In 2004, a Ringling aerial acrobat using scarves was killed after the material gave way and she fell 30 feet to a concrete floor. That accident was not investigated by OSHA because the risk was part of the act, the agency said at the time. ■ Associated Press writers Adriana Gomez Licon in Sao Paulo and Matthew Barakat in McLean, Virginia, contributed to this report.
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Filipino artists in Toronto gather to showcase and celebrate ‘Sining’ BY THESSA SANDOVAL Special to Philippine Canadian Inquirer
Consul-General Mahilum-West gives her opening remarks.
Philippine Artists Group of Canada President Nelia Tonido.
Maestro Romeo 'Romy' Mananquil.
TORONTO—Philippine Artists Group of Canada (PAG) President Nelia Tonido says many Filipinos have a lack of interest in the arts. “They would buy a big sofa for a very expensive price, but will never pay anything for a painting,” adds Tonido. That is why the Philippine Consulate-General Office (PCG) in collaboration with the PAG has thought of organizing “Sining,” an art exhibition that aims to promote Philippine arts to Filipinos and Canadians alike. The opening event was held Friday, May 2 at PCG’s new office on Eglington St. Tonido says it may take a long time to enlighten Filipinos about the arts, but hopes that the event will be the beginning of that process. Consul General Junever Mahilum-West invites everyone to come and see the exhibit, which will run for two months. It is the first activity organized by
The Philippine Artists Group of Canada.
the PCG to commemorate the Asian Heritage Month. “This is part of our cultural diplomacy, which is one of our missions… Through cultural activities like this, we get to showcase the talent (of Filipinos) and the richness of our culture,” says Mahilum-West. Members and officers of the PAG painted most of the works showcased. The Consul-General has a few paintings she painted herself on display as well. Both Mahilum-West and Tonido also encourage the younger generation to visit and
view the display to learn more about their cultural heritage. The PAG will be celebrating its 26th year anniversary on Philippine Independence Day this year. As it starts its next quarter of a century, the group promises that it will continue to promote Philippine visual arts in North America, particularly in Canada. Celebrated Filipino artist Romeo Mananquil says, “Art is the common ground that unites us all.” Some of the paintings are for sale. Interested buyers can get in touch with the PCG Office for more information. ■
The Holy Mission Trip to the Philippines BY ALVIN PARAPILLY IN MARCH 2014, from the 18th to the 31st the Holy Cross Mission Team departed from Vancouver and headed for the Philippines to help build homes for the poor. There were 33 students, 6 staff members and Fr. Patrick, the Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, North Delta. From the moment we were chosen to go on this mission trip, we began to prepare tirelessly for our journey. In terms of fundraising, we did it all; we recycled cans every week at school, held a dinner dance with a masquerade theme, worked on Holy Cross’ Multi-
cultural Day and sold samosas at church. The work never ended but it was all worth it. When the time came to finally go to the Philippines, I can surely say that each and every one of us was ecstatic. We had waited for a year and it was finally here. With our bags packed, we said our final goodbyes and started on our 14-hour journey to Manila, Philippines. We arrived in Manila to plus 33°C temperatures, not to mention the humidity that greeted us as we got off the plane. The people were extraordinarily kind and welcomed us with open arms. Our guide was a woman from ANCOP, which stands for “Answering the Cry of the Poor.” This organization
is a Catholic charity involved in helping building houses for the poor and sponsoring children in the Philippines, India and Nigeria. Without them and our many other sponsors, our trip would not have been possible. On this trip to the Philippines, we visited two work sites where we helped to build homes. The first was Avanai in Quezon City. What really impressed was how at Avanai, a home was built for someone and then the people who would occupy the house would help to build other people’s houses. It was a good example of paying it forward. It really proved that these people had the spirit of community and they cherished every last bit of it. We really got a sense of their
Members of the Holy Cross Mission Team with a Sister from the Missionaries of Charity organization.
community and togetherness. The people, including all the little children who played with us 24/7 while we worked and while we rested, were amazing. Our next worksite was in a
mountainous area called Our Lady of Banneux Village in San Mateo. It was much more quiet and peaceful here because there ❱❱ PAGE 38 The Holy
37 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Are you... your mom for a few hours. Psychologists underscored that first time parents should also find time to express intimacy with each other. Strengthening your relationship with your husband is key to being an effective mom. 6. Sleep when your baby sleeps. As a new mom, your focus should be on your newborn. Forget the household chores for the meantime. If you are a working mom, you will absolutely need a helper. 7. Save. If before giving birth, you spent so much for your personal luxuries, you better think about it now. As a mom, your financial priorities will be automatically shifted to the necessities of your baby. Saving for your baby does not mean depriving yourself of the things that you also need and want. You just need ❰❰ 32
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 38
Celebrating Mother’s... to be more careful in deciding where you should use your money. You’re now a mom, and hopefully that will make you wiser than ever. 8. Give love, attention and affection to your baby. When your baby cries, child experts said that he/she just needs the tender loving care of a mom. Cuddling and touching your newborn can do the trick. Studies suggest that talking to your baby helps strengthen your mother-child relationship. So, keep on talking and listening to your baby’s needs. Experts added that you won’t spoil your baby by responding promptly when he/she cries. In fact, it will help build trust and a strong emotional bond. ■
parties, special homecooked meals, the wearing of kebaya, and even competitions within family and friends.
dren and give them at least one meal a day. We played games, sang songs and shared a meal with them. Seeing all the children there with great big smiles on each one of their faces was just amazing because at the end of the day, they are still going home to incredibly poor conditions. Even through thick and thin, they still manage to be happy. Our final visit was to a charity called the House With No Steps in Cainta. There, we observed firsthand what life was like for those in a wheelchair. This organization fights for Filipinos who are physically disabled and provides them with jobs that they are capable of doing. This was a true eye opener for us because we were given the opportunity to sit down with them and try to do their jobs. It was amazing to see a person with only two fingers fold many small boxes while we struggled to fold one. We toured the facility and experienced some aspects of life as a physically disabled person, including wheel chair basketball. These three visits to the charities were extraordinary and I
will never forget them. After all was said and done, the time had come for us to return back to Vancouver. Many tears were shed since we had all made some new friends and it was hard to say goodbye, especially to all the little children. Our time spent in the Philippines will never be forgotten and I thank Holy Cross for providing us with the opportunity to experience life in a third-world country and for giving us the tools needed to help them out. I hope to one day revisit the Philippines and hopefully see what's become of the work that we started. It would be fantastic to go back and see all the people again and to see how their lives have changed. Overall, It was an amazing experience for me and I can truly say that this trip has changed my life. The next time I whine about not having this or that, I will think about all the poverty that is ever present around the world and how those people are happy with whatever they have. Thank you Holy Cross for this amazing Mission Trip to the Philippines! ■
Henrietta Szold of Israel
According to Wikipedia, “the Jewish population celebrates Mother's Day on Shevat 30 of the Jewish calendar, which falls between 30 January and 1 March,” which is the same date of Henrietta Szold’s death. Szold, despite not having children of her own, gave refuge to many Jewish children and saved them from Nazi Germany. She fought for children’s rights and for that she was considered their mother. Today, Jews remember Szold ( )הנשה םויon the same day as mother’s day (םֵאָה םֹוי, yom ha'em), which is also called Family Day or yom hamishpacha ()הָחָּפְּשִמַה םֹו. Japan’s Haha No Hi
Japan’s word for “happy” (especially for occasions) is “omedatou,” as in “o-tanjoubi omedatou” is “happy birthday.”
However, for mother’s day, our Japanese friends call it “haha no hi.” Perhaps they saw how fun (and funny) mothers really are. In Japan, mother’s day started as the birthday of Empress Kojun on March 6, 1931. Empress Kojun is the mother of Emperor Akihito. But as Japan continued to grow, more and more Japanese households considered the second Sunday of May as mother’s day. Flowers are a big deal on mother’s day, particularly red roses and carnations. Dia de la Madre in Spain
Spanish moms are honored one week before most of the world’s moms. In Spain, mother’s day—or dia de la madre—is celebrated on the first Sunday of May by giving gifts and spending the day with the entire family. It is also celebrated in the month dedicated to Jesus’ own mother, Virgin Mary. This belief is followed by the mainly Catholic population of Spain. Mother’s day is such a big
deal that school children are given several hours a day to prepare for dia de la madre weeks before the special day. Philippines and the Ilaw ng Tahanan
The Pinoys’ ilaw ng tahanan or “light of the household” are especially honored every second Sunday of May. Filipinos are famous of their almost unbelievable intensity of filial piety and mothers are often on that filial pedestal. Pinoys usually bring their moms to malls to enjoy a special meal in a restaurant with the entire family. Moms are also taken to enjoy a day in the spa for relaxation. Most of all, they are not to do any household chores on that day. Most children are also expected to create greeting cards and small gifts to honor their mommy. Whichever way you choose to celebrate mother’s day, the important thing is that you spend it with the very reason you exist—your mom. Happy mother’s day, everyone! ■
The Holy... were not as many families and children as there were in Avanai. Since it was rural we rarely heard traffic noise. However, the work was just as hard and as equally meaningful. We worked under the scorching hot sun and we still got quite a bit of work done. All together, Holy Cross donated six ANCOP houses, including one house donated by the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation. Along with building houses, our trip also consisted of visiting some charities in the local area. One was the Missionaries of Charity in Tondo. The Sisters take care of little children with serious illnesses such as many who are hydrocephalic and some who endure other ailments such as scoliosis. It was tough to see all these little children bedridden but we tried our best to interact with them, feed them and play with them for even the slightest thing that we did brought a smile to their faces. The next charity we visited was the San Martin de Porres Mission, which was in the poorest part of Tondo. They provide out of school care for poor chil❰❰ 36
Holy Cross Mission Team in front of the ANCOP building.
Alessandra Piccolo and Sabrina Feijo shoveling at 35 degrees heat at San Mateo, Rizal.
39 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Planning a spring cleaning? Clear left over drugs from your medicine cabinet BY HELEN BRANSWELL The Canadian Press TORONTO—You’ll wash the windows, rake the yard. You may sort through closets and drawers to identify unneeded clothing to give away. But when you are doing your spring cleaning, do you remember to spend some time clearing out the medicine cabinet? Chances are, if you pop open the mirrored doors of many medicine cabinets, you are likely to see some “just in case” drugs that medical experts wish weren’t there. Didn’t take all the Tylenol 3s or Percocets your doctor prescribed after your surgery a couple of years ago? You probably hung on to them just in case they might come in handy later. Ditto the leftover pills from the prescription of antibiotics you stopped taking once you started to feel better. (Stop doing that,
by the way. Right now.) Leftover drugs stored for a rainy day in household medicine cabinets pose a number of risks, two doctors write in a commentary published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The doctors, from Torontoarea hospitals, suggest Canadian households should take advantage of the upcoming Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day— on May 10—to get rid of unused prescription drugs. Dr. Peter Wu, chief medical resident at Toronto General Hospital, and Dr. David Juurlink, a specialist in internal medicine and clinical pharmacology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, say inertia and a natural inclination to save something that might be useful later are likely the reasons why people hang on to drugs they haven’t needed for the illness for which they were prescribed. Wu says last year two tonnes of unused medications were
turned in to pharmacies across Canada during the first national drop-off day. There’s good reason to think the problem hasn’t gone away. A study of people who underwent dermatologic surgery showed 86 per cent of patients didn’t use all the drugs they were prescribed and half of them planned to keep the remaining pills. A systematic review—a study that reviews accumulated studies on a topic—found that more than a third of patients didn’t take all the prescribed pills when they were put on antibiotics. (Seriously, stop doing that. It’s contributing to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, a problem the World Health Organization calls a major threat to global public health.) The same study showed more than a quarter of patients used leftover antibiotics for subsequent infections— in other words, they self-prescribed drugs without knowing what they were
suffering from, whether it was caused by a bacterium (the bugs that antibiotics treat) or whether that particular antibiotic was useful for the ailment they had. That’s a bad idea, the authors say, for a variety of reasons. Included among them is the fact that selfmedicating like this might delay sick people from getting assessed by a physician, it might affect their test results, thereby delaying diagnosis and the start of care. There are other reasons why keeping leftover drugs around is a really bad idea, Wu and Juurlink say. Drugs in the home can also be misused by someone looking for a high, the authors caution. “It really is a concern because in many cases we’re talking about powerful, potentially dangerous drugs that are just kind of sitting there in the medicine cabinet,” says Robert Mann, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and principal investiga-
tor for the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. That ongoing survey of students in Grades 7 through 12 reported last year that 15 per cent of high school students in Ontario admitted to using prescription drugs—often opioids and stimulants—for recreational purposes. The most common source of the drugs was the family medicine cabinet. So what should one do with unneeded drugs? Health Canada recommends turning them in to pharmacies—the plan for the drop-off day. Another option is municipal waste disposal centres. The department does not recommend flushing unused drugs down the toilet or putting them in the garbage. Wu says the idea of an annual national disposal day is a good idea, one that may focus people’s attention on the problem. But a better idea is to get rid of unused drugs as soon as you determine you don’t need them. ■
MAY 9, 2014 FRIDAY 40
Key survey on job vacancies is vague, not terribly useful: auditor general BY JENNIFER DITCHBURN The Canadian Press OTTAWA, ONT.—The country’s top survey on job vacancies is too vague and doesn’t provide much value to governments and other users, the auditor general said Tuesday. Michael Ferguson’s latest report comes as the Conservative government faces scrutiny on alleged abuses of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which is meant to address labour shortages in certain sectors. Other surveys used by Ottawa to take stock of employment trends have also been criticized as inaccurate or incomplete. Ferguson said Statistics Canada’s survey of employment, payrolls and hours doesn’t provide specifics on the precise location of job vacancies within a province. “For example, reported job vacancies in Alberta could be in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, or any other community in the province,” says the report. Industry classifications in the survey are broad, noted Ferguson, and don’t provide much
indication of the particular jobs that need to be filled. “We have identified that users have been asking for more information about employment data at more local levels,” Ferguson told a news conference. “Really what we have said is Statistics Canada needs to do a better job of understanding those types of needs and figuring out whether there are ways that it can address those needs, because it’s certainly the thing that its users are demanding.” Federal and provincial ministers agreed on the need for more data on job vacancies in 2009 and the statistics agency added questions to the survey to address that in 2011. Other tools in the government’s statistics toolkit have fallen short. An employment insurance, monitoring and assessment report, conducted by Employment and Social Development Canada, has been ridiculed for including data from online classified service Kijiji to establish labour needs. That practice has since been stopped. Another StatsCan survey commissioned by the department, which included input
from 25,000 employers on their workplace demographics and skills requirements, never got past the data-collection phase because funding ran out. Ferguson’s report recommends Statistics Canada determine whether it should keep certain surveys alive even after a department or organization stops providing funding. Meanwhile, the statistical agency is grappling with a $29.3-million funding cut over the last two years. Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s office said in an email he is looking forward to meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts this summer and discussing better labour market data. Liberal finance critic Scott Brison said the auditor general’s findings are part of a Conservative attitude toward data and scientific evidence. “The Conservatives have used bad data to defend expanding the Temporary Foreign Workers Program at the cost of Canadians’ jobs,” said Brison. “There’s a real economic cost to a government guided by ideology and not evidence.” The auditor general’s report
also reviewed the National Household Survey, the voluntary questionnaire that the Conservative government used to replace the mandatory longform census in 2011. Ferguson found that small towns and communities are missing out on key statistical data as a result of the change. Statistics Canada withheld information on a quarter of Canadian communities, or three per cent of the population, because of the low quality of the data in the smaller areas. The biggest area had almost 10,000 residents, the region around Lake Simcoe in Ontario. The report said Statistics Canada needs to consider how it can better serve the needs of those who use information on smaller municipalities, including the towns themselves, non-
governmental organizations and private companies. Statistics Canada responded by saying it is seeing how it could use alternative sources to beef up its information on those communities, including use of administrative data. The agency wasn’t specific, but that could refer to other information kept on the population by government bodies, such as tax returns and driver’s licence registrations. The agency recently announced it would be sticking with the National Household Survey for the 2016 census. The Conservatives eliminated the long-form despite widespread criticism, saying the government did not agree with threatening Canadians with fines and jail time for not divulging their personal information. ■
Media giants pressured as advertising agencies look to social media BY DAVID FRIEND The Canadian Press TORONTO—Executives at some of Canada’s biggest media companies say they’re feeling the pinch as major advertisers take their money to social media operators like Facebook and Twitter, leaving the country’s biggest television networks and newspapers with the scraps. The shift is happening faster than many players expected and is a driving force behind changes across the industry as more Canadians migrate to the Internet for their news and entertainment. On Tuesday, the CRTC released a financial report for the TV industry showing that conventional broadcasters, which send over-the-air signals, together lost more than $69 mil-
lion before taxes last year. National advertising sales took the brunt of the impact, dropping 5.3 per cent to $1.28 billion in 2013. Just a few years ago, the consensus among big media companies was that restrained spending by advertisers would evaporate after the economic downturn, and usher in to a new era of digital advertising where banner ads on newspaper company’s websites and streaming video commercials for multi-platform content became increasingly lucrative. What happened was a little more complicated as social media companies swooped into the equation and outside forces like Google’s advertising division attracted a bigger chunk of marketing dollars. “Deals are being made on a global basis,” said Jack Tomik,
chief sales officer at Rogers Media, which owns a slate of television channels and magazines. “Money is coming out of budgets for a lot of national advertisers before it even gets to this side of the border.” Advertisers partner with social media companies partly because of their massive scope that promises specific demographics and often more favourable rates. “More and more we’re finding that clients who are global want to do things on a global scale,” said Fred Forster, chief executive officer of Omnicom Media Group Canada, the Canadian division of the world’s biggest advertising agency. Forster said international advertising campaigns tend to be cheaper overall. “There are efficiencies associated with that and that’s why www.canadianinquirer.net
the deals are done,” he said. In March, photo app maker Instagram secured a US$100million contract with Publicis Omnicom that runs for a year, triggering widespread industry attention. Now, Instagram is shopping around monthly campaigns that cost nearly $1 million apiece, according to a report in trade magazine Ad Age. Some Canadian media companies have tried to tap into these relationships by partnering with a direct competitor. Postmedia websites, for example, use Google’s advertisement technology under a revenue sharing agreement with the Silicon Valley giant, which means the owner of the National Post and other dailies receive a smaller chunk of revenues but also don’t shoulder big administrative expenses.
In return, Postmedia websites are featured more prominently on Google News pages. “The technology and the number of impressions Google can drive is significant—higher than traditional media companies are able to drive,” said Postmedia chief operating officer Wayne Parrish. Others have tried a more competitive approach. Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) paid $5.2 billion in November for the broadcast rights of NHL games, an attempt to get a larger chunk of the lucrative sports entertainment market that still attracts advertisers in droves. The landmark deal had a ripple effect at CBC, the longtime NHL broadcaster, as it laid off more than 600 employees in a restructuring effort that will continue to roll out over three years. ■
41 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Vancouver Whitecaps to showcase youth against Toronto in Canadian Cup game BY NEIL DAVIDSON The Canadian Press TORONTO—How young will Vancouver’s starting lineup be Wednesday for the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal against Toronto FC? “Younger than young,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said with a smile. “Because my first-team squad is young anyway so it’s a little bit younger than that. “I want to give the opportunity to some of the younger players I’ve got in my squad to see how close they are to being ready. They’ve got great, fantastic ability but the only way they can learn is by challenging them in certain game situations
and I think (Wednesday) is a perfect example for them to get given the opportunity. “I’ve got 100 per cent faith in them.” FC Edmonton hosts the defending champion Montreal Impact in the other first-leg semifinal Wednesday. Edmonton advanced by dispatching Ottawa Fury FC 3-1 on aggregate in a battle of North American Soccer League teams. There’s likely more than national pride at stake for Vancouver in showcasing the young Canadians. The Whitecaps (3-2-4) are coming off a 3-2 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Facing a game in Columbus on Saturday, it makes sense to rest some starters with three games in a week. So Robinson, who brought 26
players on the road trip, plans to give Canadian youth a chance with starts for 17-year-old goalkeeper Marco Carducci and 20-year-old midfielder Bryce Alderson. Midfielder Russell Teibert, a 21-year-old who already has 46 MLS appearances under his belt, will also start and Robinson is expected to have other young Canadian talent such as teenage midfielders Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, in his matchday 18. Carducci, who has twice been named Canadian Under-17 Player of the Year, starts ahead of No. 2 ‘keeper Paolo Tornaghi. “I’m going to be very excited,” Carducci said Tuesday when asked what his emotions will be come kickoff. Robinson speaks glowingly about his young ‘keeper, a Cal-
gary native who played for Canada at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. “He’s brilliant,” said the former Welsh international, praising his commitment, work ethic and temperament. Alderson is also bubbling with excitement. “It’s huge,” said Alderson, who captained Canada at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup and has played for the Olympic team in qualifying. A native of Kitchener, Ont., he grew up supporting Toronto FC. Now he is trying to find tickets for family and friends to see him play against them at BMO Field. It’s also a home showcase for Teibert, a native of Niagara Falls, Ont., and former member of the Toronto FC Academy.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s a Canadian championship and we haven’t been the best team in Canada just yet. Hopefully this is the year.” Robinson plans to save his starting centre backs Jay DeMerit and Andy O’Brien for Saturday’s game in Columbus. Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell, who have deputized for the two veterans before, will likely take over Wednesday. Toronto has the weekend off so is facing less of a short-term fixture crunch. And given it is only now returning to a full roster after a slew of injuries, the chance to give the first team more time to play together is welcome. The CONCACAF Champions League winner advances to the FIFA Club World Cup. ■
(MARCH 21 - APRIL 19)
(JUNE 22 - JULY 22)
(SEPT 23 - OCT 22)
(DEC 22 - JAN 19)
You’re apt to speak and act with a great deal of power, Aries, but be careful that you don’t get swept away by emotion. There’s a surrealistic quality to the day. It could lead you to believe a mirage is real. You might get so caught up in the drama of your feelings that your power of reason gets watered down to the point where you lose track of your objectivity altogether.
You may feel like you’re being left out of the equation, Cancer. Perhaps you feel like the oddball, the fifth wheel who simply doesn’t have a place. Don’t worry. Just because you feel that way today doesn’t mean it’s your destiny. If you don’t like your course, change your position. If you don’t like the people you’re with, move in a different social circle. Don’t blame your circumstances on others. Take responsibility.
In some ways, you may feel like a lost soul who isn’t quite in touch with your dreams, Libra. Although you feel energetic and boisterous, you might also get the sense that your energy is misdirected and you’re being led in the wrong direction. The key for you now is to lead yourself. Cut through everyone else’s agenda and follow your internal rainbow. The more you take charge, the happier you’ll be.
Perhaps you’re stuck in a mindset you can’t seem to escape. Be careful about taking action based on ideas rooted more in past fantasy than present reality. Your emotions could be playing tricks on you. You could be attached to a dream that has more to do with feeding your ego than fulfilling your destiny. Question your motives. You might find that you’re better off redirecting your energy somewhere else.
(APRIL 20 - MAY 20)
(JULY 23 - AUGUST 22)
(OCT 23 - NOV 21)
(JAN 20 - FEB 18)
Your concept of reality could be based more on your emotions than facts, Taurus. This is one of those days when this could get you into trouble. Whatever comes up, you’re likely to feel very passionate about it and tend to lose any rational perspective whatsoever. Integrity, inner strength, and selfconfidence will be the glue that holds your mind and heart together.
Take your creativity to a new level, Leo. There are many ways to express yourself creatively, so pick one and follow through. You may have a desire to be on stage, and you want to share your dreams and inner passion. Your strong emotions and dreamy perspective are assets. Don’t try to push them away. Listening to your brain too much could deprive you of the bounty in your heart and imagination.
The best way to create harmony among others is to first establish harmony in yourself, Scorpio. Don’t expect others to take care of you and attend to all your desires. It isn’t your responsibility to dote on others. The boundaries may get ambiguous at times, but do your best to maintain a healthy separation. People may pull on your heartstrings to manipulate you into doing what they want. Don’t fall for it.
When you talk, you want other people to listen. More than likely, your thoughts will drift toward humanitarian ideas and philosophies. You’re eager to share your ideas with others, and you may have a utopian dream that, if everyone just followed, would make the world a much better place. People may make fun of you for having such a perspective, but this definitely doesn’t mean that you should stop dreaming.
(MAY 21 - JUNE 21)
(AUG 23 - SEPT 22)
(NOV 22 - DEC 21)
(FEB 19 - MAR 20)
This is your day to shine, Gemini. Just make sure you don’t do so at someone else’s expense. You’re feeling more self-confident than usual, which may be hard for you to believe. Nevertheless, you could be so focused on your agenda that you fail to see subtle signals put out by those around you. Other people cry out for attention, too. Make sure you shine some of your glorious light on them.
Your feelings may deceive you, Virgo, so be careful of getting too wrapped up in your own drama. Perhaps you feel you’re getting pushed and pulled in uncomfortable directions. You might tolerate this tension for a while without expressing your feelings about it. This is a dangerous policy because it could give others the impression that it’s OK to continue treating you the way they do.
You might feel as if your powerful emotions are getting in the way of your dreams. Or perhaps you’re finding that you’re so wrapped up in a particular vision of the future that you’re getting lost in your own brain. You’re losing touch with the present simply because you’re so focused on a nebulous idea that doesn’t even exist yet. Take a step back from your current mindset and reevaluate the situation.
Issues regarding control of a situation are probably going to be your focus, Pisces. More than likely, you adhere to a solidly planned routine. You have a set way of doing things and you want to stick to it. Other people are moving into the picture, however, and they may want to take a leadership role. People will be adamant and strong willed when it comes to their facts. You should be, too.
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Want a new dining experience? Book a local BY RACHEL NANIA The Associated Press WASHINGTON—A “Smitten Kitchen” recipe tasting; a wine and cheese pairing; an authentic Brazilian meal; a lesson in bread making; and a night of pasta, wine and new friends. You can experience these food adventures and more with the click of a mouse on Bookalokal—a website that connects hosts with curious diners in the Washington area and around the world. More people are ditching traditional dining options and opting for intimate and adventurous food experiences, from underground supper clubs to secret speakeasies and dinner parties thrown in chefs’ homes. Bookalokal fills this niche. Bookalokal began in Evelyne White’s kitchen in Brussels a year and a half ago. White hosted travellers in her apartment and discovered that in addition to wanting a room, travellers wanted to connect to other people and to the local culture through food. To meet this demand, she began hosting small dinner parties for the travelling community. The success of her parties grew, and when she launched the Bookalokal website last November, she noticed travellers weren’t the only ones interested in the intimate gatherings. “Now, 75 per cent of customers are people using (Bookalokal) within their own city as a tool to explore new neighbourhoods and new cultures and socialize in new groups,” White says. Bookalokal is not an alternative to a restaurant; White calls the food-centric events a “different kind of social experience.” She tells stories of how one group of five strangers came together for dinner and made such a great connection that they continued to dine together in a group. Eventually, they
went on vacation together, and two even became roommates. “Those kinds of experiences, they start often around a dinner table, around a personal and intimate experience . where you really get to know someone,” White says. “You don’t know who you’re going to meet, and because you don’t know who’s going, there’s an element of mystery and openness that everyone walks into the experience with.” How does Bookalokal work? Anyone interested in hosting a culinary event can sign up on the Bookalokal website, where they are prompted to become verified (although that’s not required). For verification, someone from the Bookalokal team meets with the potential host and judges them on the quality of food, communication abilities (to make sure there aren’t obvious language barriers) and value for money. Bookalokal events range from free to $50, depending on the type of experience. Most hover between $20 and $30. “But what we’re most focused on is finding someone who clearly wants to be doing this. You don’t have to be a Top Chef. In fact, we’ve got plenty of people who just like food,” White says. The team member who verifies the host then writes a review based on the initial meeting. “We’ll try to highlight the personality so that people know what they’re getting and what they’re not getting,” White says. Bookalokal has grown from one host to more than 300, based all around the world. Seventy-five per cent of the people who host once sign up to host again, White says. And most hosts throw events an average of four times a year. “Most people are doing it with a passion; it’s not an easy way to make money,” White says. “It’s really more about, ‘I love wine, I love cheese; let me
Fish on roasting pan at a home kitchen.
put on a wine and cheese night and see who will connect with other people who love the same thing.”‘ White says dinner parties are the most commonly listed Bookalokal events, but more “classes” and workshops are popping up on the site as well. “We have a guy who studies beer and food pairings, and he does a weekend beer tour where he takes locals and tourists to his three favourite, oldest breweries in Brussels,” White says. In Washington, one resident offers a free guided tour of the Dupont farmers market, where he introduces guests to the local growers and producers and discusses the local agricultural movement. White says she’s also seeing piqued interest from small business owners who want to host events in their commercial spaces. “If you owned a local chocolate shop, it’d be a great way to get in new customers to try your chocolate; have a chocolate tasting in your shop. If you had a bar or a brewery, you could have people into your space. We’re diversifying away from just home-cooked events. They’re great, but a lot of people have spaces that they can use to bring in new customers
to their local products.” Since food and, often, alcohol is involved in Bookalokal events, White says the hosts need to be familiar with local legislation. She cautions against hosting too frequently. “If someone is running a restaurant in their house, that is illegal,” she says, advising those who want to hold events often to do so in a commercial space. “We’re also making sure that we include more and more of these experiences that fall out of the purview of restaurant regulations,” she says. “What we say is that we are selling tickets to experiences. And people are buying a ticket, not as a substitute for a restaurant, but because of whatever that host is providing and the fact that it’s a group social dining experience.” After witnessing Bookalokal’s success in Brussels, White’s decision to expand to Washington was an obvious one, she says. Both cities have a strong food culture and a large international community. Both cities are also a temporary home for many people looking to connect to others during political or government assignments. Jackie Woodbury is the city launcher for Washington’s Bookalokal. She started the job three weeks ago and says she
is excited by what she’s seen so far. Last week, she attended a momo-making party at a food blogger’s house. A momo, she explains, is a dumpling native to Nepal. “You’re kind of transported to Nepal through a food blogger in D.C.,” says Woodbury, who has lived in the District for seven years. The evening had an impact on other guests as well. “From that event, there are two people who decided they are going to be hosts now because of the wonderful experience they had,” she says. Woodbury attended another Bookalokal party and dined with a newlywed couple in their apartment in Bloomingdale. The hosts, who had just returned from Barcelona, chose the theme “Around the World in Small Bites.” “It was probably one of the best dinners I’ve had in D.C.,” Woodbury says. Both Woodbury and White predict Bookalokal events will spread to areas in Virginia and Maryland as more become aware of the events going on. White saw a similar pattern in Brussels and its surrounding towns. “In the beginning, we could only get people to come to things smack-dab in the centre and now we’re outside of Brussels. People are eating at each other’s farmhouses in the countryside because they found communities out there. That’s really great for rural areas,” she says. But for now, White and Woodbury are focusing on growing the number of unique food experiences available in the District. “We’re so lucky in D.C. to have the world’s cuisine at our finger tips,” Woodbury says. “And it seems to be picking up very quickly.” ■ Information from: WTOP-FM, http://www.wtop.com
43 FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
Atlantic City adding more non gambling fun for the summer and beyond BY WAYNE PARRY The Associated Press ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Volleyball Olympians, boxing matches between police and firefighters, a sand-sculpting competition, free concerts on the beach and daredevil plane pilots are just some of the non-gambling attractions Atlantic City has planned for this summer. The events are part of the resort’s strategy to attract more visitors with events that don’t involve gambling, and most of them are free. The effort is seen as crucial to the resort’s future as gambling revenue continues to decline amid ever-increasing competition from new casinos in the northeastern U.S. The AVP pro beach volleyball tour will return to Atlantic City on Sept. 5-7. In 2013, players including New Jersey native Ryan Doherty, Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Jen Kessy, Sean Rosenthal, Jake Gibb, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, and threetime Manhattan Beach Open champion Whitney Pavlik competed. The Fire On the Water festival will include the police vs. fire boxing match and a firefighter skills competition on May 17-18. In the Firefighter Combat Challenge, pairs of competitors dressed in full gear will race head to head as they simulate the physical demands of reallife firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks, including climbing a five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175-pound “victim.” It will be held at Gardiner’s Basin. On June 29, the Atlantic City Challenge Triathlon will be held. More than
1,100 athletes have registered to take on the 140.6 mile race course that begins and ends in Atlantic City. Country music star Blake Shelton is playing for free on the beach on July 31, and a second big-name concert is planned for Aug. 3. That act has not yet been announced. Speaking Friday at a tourism seminar, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian suggested the city build a permanent outdoor stage on one of its piers to host multiple concerts each year. “Let’s take a look at what happens this summer, and maybe we should be in the business of building a permanent stage on one of our piers instead of getting all excited about one or two events,” he said. The Do AC Sand Sculpting World Cup will be held June 19 through July 6 on the Missouri Avenue beach, featuring 20 top sand sculptors from around the world. A massive July 4 fireworks show that will be visible from anywhere on the beach or boardwalk in planned. The Atlantic City Air Show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be held Aug. 13. The Miss America pageant will be back in Atlantic City from Sept. 9-14, and the resort hopes to keep the month full of action by hosting a wine tasting event Sept. 27-28. It will feature 100 wines presented at multiple destinations along a one-mile stretch of the boardwalk between the Steel Pier and the Tropicana Casino and Resort. Tickets for that event go on sale in June. ■ Information on all the summer events can be found at www.doatlanticcity.com.
Canadians frantic... simply aren’t enough Canadian live-in caregivers,” she said. “There’s a huge demand for nannies outside of big cities like Toronto and Vancouver, and demand across the country for elder care because we have an aging population and families are caring for sick, aging parents. We believe the government is trying to suppress that demand.” Changes made last year to the temporary foreign worker program posed particular difficulties for Canadian families looking for live-in help, Gruber Hersch said. The government imposed a $275 processing fee on every application for a live-in caregiver via the so-called labour market opinion process. Wait times have also dramatically increased, she said. Nonetheless, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander had some good news for the sector last fall, announcing Canada would approve 17,500 live-in caregivers and nannies as permanent residents this year, almost twice the number from 2013. The measures were designed to address the growing backlog of live-in caregivers currently working in Canada while waiting for permanent resident status. A few months earlier, Kenney— then immigration minister—expressed concern about the “unmanageable” backlog. But that isn’t helping to bring new caregivers to Canada. So placement agencies are turning to another government program known as International Experience Canada. That program allows more than 50,000 citizens from 32 countries, aged 18 to 35, to come to Canada annually for as long as two years without having to get a positive labour market opinion. “They’re more au pairs than anything else, younger women using the program, but it’s going really well because it’s a much easier process with no need for an LMO,” said Gruber Hersch. “We’re just afraid that with all the bad ❰❰ 18
press, the government will put a stop to it.” A spokeswoman for Alexander suggested the Tories are aware of the unique circumstances the live-in caregiver sector faces. “Canadians must always have first crack at available jobs, but our government recognizes the important contributions of live-in caregivers to Canadian families and our economy,” Alexis Pavlich said in an email. The embattled temporary foreign worker program continues to hound the Conservatives. On Monday, there were fresh allegations from mall workers in B.C. who claim they’ve been mistreated, and conflicting job vacancy numbers that raise questions about the very existence of a skills shortage in Canada. Kenney’s department, Employment and Social Development Canada, uses different measurements than Statistics Canada and the Department of Finance to determine where there are labour shortages. “Mr. Speaker, do you know who said there was no labour shortage? It was me. Myself,” Kenney told the House of Commons on Monday. “There is no general labour shortage in Canada. But at the same time it’s clear that there are some industries in some regions where there is a shortage of certain skills.” John McCallum, the Liberal immigration critic who proposed a five-point plan earlier Monday to fix the temporary foreign worker program, suggested the live-in caregiver stream should be spared from any further crackdown. “There is huge need by Canadians for people to either look after their young children or aging parents,” McCallum said. “The program is on the verge of being broken already ... they have starved it of resources, or deliberately ignored it, or they don’t like it for some reason, and as a consequence the processing times have skyrocketed.” ■
MAY 9, 2014
Dual Citizenship Seminar SCHEDULED FOR May 10, 2-4pm, at 15310 103A Ave, Unit 103, Surrey (Praise International Church Building) this "DUAL CITIZENSHIP SEMINAR" is organized by SM Brokers, in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver. Deputy Consul General Anthony Achilles Mandap will be the speaker. The forum will zero in on the benefits derived from retaining or regaining Philippine citizenship, as well as on the requirements and procedures for application.
Interested parties may register for free with Ms. Charen Cusi at
778-773-4918 or Mr. Art Fabian at 604-831-2596. ■
Grace Nono in Toronto SATURDAY, MAY 24th 2014 @8PM–GRACE NONO, the Philippine music performing artist, scholar, and cultural worker, whose work has garnered her over 40 awards, comes to Toronto for the first time for a one-evening only Solo Presentation – Talk with Performance. The intimate setting of St. John’s Cathedral Polish Catholic Church, 186 Cowan Ave, serves as a welcoming venue for this multifaceted artist’s first visit to Toronto. Born and raised in the river valley of Agusan, Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Philippines,Grace specializes in the contemporary performance of Philippine sung oral/aural traditions-with special focus on songs with sacred themestaught to her by oralists/auralists from different parts of the Philippines. She has been featured in numerous concerts internationally, including the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, the House of World Cultures in Berlin, the Circulo de BellasArtes in Madrid, the Locating the Sacred Festival in New York, and the World Exposition on Nature's Wisdom in Nagoya. She has also published six award-winning solo albums, and co-produced and co-published together with composer Bob Aves, five recordings of Philippine oral/aural music traditions. Most notably as scholar educated in the University of the Philippines and New York University, Grace has published The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines (ANVIL Publishing and Fundacion Santiago,
Consular Outreach A CONSULAR outreach team from the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto will travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba to render consular services for the Filipino community on May 10-14, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba, 737 Keewatin Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was announced recently by Consul
2008), winner in the 2009 Book Awards; and the newly launched Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-OralistHealers (Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2013). As cultural worker, Grace founded the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a Philippine non-government organization engaged in grassroots cultural regeneration initiatives, for which she has received support from the Toyota Foundation, UNESCO, Advocates of Philippine Fair Trade, Australia-Philippines Community Cooperation Program, local communities and institutions. Grace Nono is proudly presented in Toronto by the Cana Caridad Foundation, in community partnership with Kapisanan Philippine Centre and KAPWA Collective. With the full support of the Philippine Consulate General of Toronto, and joined by special guests, PantayoKulintang Ensemble, this rare event is not to be missed! The Cana Caridad Foundation supports charitable organizations worldwide, including Free The Children, the IMQH Mis-
sionaries (Cebu, Philippines), and FOSSSI (Filipino-Ontario Seminarian Scholarship Society International). Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture (or KAPISANAN or The K) is Canada’s premiere Filipino-Canadian arts & cultural facility located in Toronto’s Kensington Market district. Kapisanan’smission is to promote the social and professional development of Filipino youth, artists, and entrepreneurs, using Filipino culture and knowledge-of-self as a foundation for empowerment — for the whole community! The Kapwa Collective is a group of Filipino-Canadian artists, critical thinkers, and healers who work towards bridging narratives between the Indigenous and the Diasporic and between the Filipino and the Canadian. This volunteer-run, mutual support group aims to facilitate links among academic, artistic, activist, and other communities in Toronto. ■ Tickets are $20. Contact: Lilac Caña 416.727.4839 / Kapisanan 416.979.0600 / Kapwa 647.784.6877 www.canadianinquirer.net
General Juniver M. MahilumWest of PCG-Toronto. Meanwhile, a team from the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver, headed by Consul General Neil Frank Ferrer, is currently in Grande Prairie, AB to conduct a similar outreach program from May 6 – 8. Venue is at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites, 11710-102 Street, Grande Prairie, AB. ■
Overseas Voting Registration Starts UNDER REPUBLIC Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003" as amended by Republic Act No. 10590, all citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not otherwise disqualified by law, at least 18 years of age on the day of the elections, and who are registered overseas voters, may vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-List Representatives. All qualified Filipino citizens not registered as voters under Republic Act No. 8189 otherwise known as "The Voters Registration Act of 1996 " (the system of continuing registration) will file an application for registration while those who are already registered under the said Act will file for certification. For the May 9, 2016 elections the filing of application for registration/certification shall be from May 6, 2014 (Philippine Time) to October 31, 2015
(Philippine Time). Requests for Transfer of Registration Records may be filed at the Posts or before the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) of the COMELEC during the registration period. The 30-day voting period will commence on April 9, 2016 (Philippine Time) until 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 9, 2016 (Philippine Time) at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate having jurisdiction over the place where the overseas voter is registered as such. For details, please contact the Phillippine embassies or consulates nearest you or visit our Foreign Service Posts Directory for their respective contact details. ■
FRIDAY MAY 9, 2014
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MAY 9, 2014
“EXPRESS ENTRY” TO CANADA: Changing the name and rules of the game for immigration applicants BY MARIEL “MIGS” VARGAS GUINA TIME AND efficiency are crucial elements in the success of any immigration strategy. In Canada in particular, the quick processing of applications was one of the best reasons why people opted to immigrate here. Filipinos who immigrated 10 years ago can certainly attest to the then swift and efficient immigration. Its efficiency and success, however, also became its downfall. The bulk of applications from several hopeful applicants flooded Canadian visa offices around the world, resulting to severe backlogs. This “hurdle” is exactly what “Express Entry” will try to address. As the term positively implies, this new system by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is a response and as a solution to the growing immigration backlog. It is also considered to be a better and speedier strategy for applicants who would best “fit“ in Canada.
applicants based on the labour market needs of Canada. Priority
The better qualification you have per labour market demand, the greater chances you have that your application will be prioritized first. This will swerve from the usual “first in line, first to be processed” model of CIC. Thus, those who are more qualified could get in the line first and would have a faster processing of application, which CIC anticipates, would be six months or less.
On April 8, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander expressed high hopes and confidence in this new system: “Express Entry will allow for greater flexibility and better responsiveness to deal with regional labour shortages, and help fill open jobs for which there are no available Canadian workers.” Express Entry candidates who receive a valid job offer or nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will be quickly invited to apply for permanent residency—a key distinction between “Express Entry” and the “Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” which is only used to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. As implied, this system is expected to address the need for Canada to have better economic migration. In simple terms, Canada would like more qualified applicants who can meet the country’s labour needs and consequently contribute to its economy. To clarify, “Express Entry” is not a new immigration stream or category. It is a new model or way of processing applications that would enable the government to choose quickly the best
W i t h this new model, applicants who are intending to migrate to Canada through Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal skilled Trade Program, Canadian Experience Class or some of the Provincial Nominee Program would need to express their interest to migrate to Canada as a their first step, hence the name EOI or expression of interest, which was the former name of this model. This first step of expressing one’s interest should be done by electronically sending skills, qualification and other attributes into a system, which is a more complex job bank or an electronic pool for applicants. Next, the system would rank the applicants and the most qualified would be invited to apply for a visa. Expectedly, the system of ranking will be according to their qualifications and the demand for their skills in Canada. Those who would come out as the best
applicants with job offers from Canadian employers or nomination from a province would be the first ones to be invited to apply for visas. Game changer
“Express Entry” is regarded by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as a game changer not only for Canadian economy and immigration but also for the multitude of applicants coming from the rest of the world. Before, applicants only competed with who applied first and who has the best qualification within their country or region. With the “Express Entry”, everyone can expect that the ranking system will dictate that the qualification of an applicant should be able to compete with the best among applicants around the world. Unless, of course, CIC will allot a quota for each country and the ranking will be done per country of origin and not a universal ranking. However, barring a quota, this new system will pit each country's “best” against that of other countries. ■ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mariel “Migs” Vargas Guina is a Licensed/Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant by the ICCRC. He is also a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) in Canada and an internationally certified HR Professional (HRMP). He has 12 years of experience doing consulting job in the area of HR (international recruitment, training and OD). He is a Registered Psychologist (RP) in the Philippines specializing in Work and Management Psychology and a Certified Industrial/Organizational Psychologist by the Psychological Association of the Philippines. He also holds a Master of Science in Industrial /Organizational Psychology from the De La Salle University Taft Manila. Call 403-835-1921 or email email@example.com. Disclaimer: All information in this article should not be treated and construed as a legal advice and are solely intended for general information about Canadian Immigration, Human Resources and other related topics. Nothing herein constitutes the establishment of a ConsultantClient relationship. This article cannot and does not address your current situation and you are thus encouraged to seek professional advice.
Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editor Melissa Remulla-Briones firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Laarni de Paula email@example.com Community News Editor Mary Ann Mandap firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondents Gigi Astudillo Angie Duarte Katherine Marfal Frances Grace Quiddaoen Ching Dee Socorro Newland Thessa Sandoval Bolet Arevalo Graphic Designer Victoria Yong Photographers Angelo Siglos Danvic Briones Solon Licas Operations and Marketing Head Laarni Liwanag (604) 551-3360 Advertising Sales Alice Yong (778) 889-3518 email@example.com Antonio Tampus (604) 460-9414 firstname.lastname@example.org PHILIPPINE PUBLISHING GROUP Editorial Assistant Phoebe Casin Graphic Designer Shanice Garcia Associate Publisher Lurisa Villanueva In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer digital edition Philippine Canadian Inquirer is located at 400-13955 Bridgeport Rd., Richmond, BC V6V 1J6 Canada Tel. No.: 1-888-668-6059 or 778-8893518 | Email: info@canadianinquirer. net, email@example.com, sales@ canadianinquirer.net Philippine Canadian Inquirer is published weekly every Friday. Copies are distributed free throughout Metro Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto. The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors named, and are not necessarily those of Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editorial Team. Member
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