Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Naku ha ! August 2011

Uphold journalistic standards           
There is a new organizations of journalists in Toronto. It is the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines - Toronto. I guess it is a chapter of the Philippine organizations. It criticizes the newspapers here for having too much entertainment news. It is lead by Butch Galicia or Libretto and Tenny Soriano of Balita. According to them, “Stung by a proliferation of fake and incompetent media practitioners in the local newspaper industry, concerned Filipino journalists formed themselves into a union to work for standardized pay and to upgrade their technical skills.” Standard naman ang pay ko-near bottom. And to think publisher na nga ako. The irony is that Galicia’s Libretto is actually full of entertainment news. And hindi ba mayroon nang organizations sila Tenny and Mon Datol na Manunulat na Pilipino or something? Sus mayosep. May full time jobs na nga tayo, may 2nd, 3rd jobs, saan pa natin hahanapin ang time to upgrade skills to write. The formation was announced accompanied by a photo of the attendees. Besides Tenny Soriano and wife and Butch Galicia, I do not recognize any of the others. It looked more like a picnic photo of friends. There is only one to become a journlist anyway. Just do it. It is like becoming a great photographer - take pictures.

Much ado about Nothing          
There was a big hullaballoo about some children who cried because they did not win an award at Little Miss Philippines pageant. I am not clear on the details. Some say the rules were changed in the middle of a pageant. This I know in any pageant.You cannot make them all win. Parents who make their children join thses pageants should know that. I have an idea but it is also stupid. I was thinking of giving each child an award. But how do you do that? If you have judges who are not part of your organization, you cannot tell the judges to give each on an award because that is parang tampering, hindi po ba? Ano sa palagay ninyo? Forget scrapping pageants. We love them. We have them sa Pilipinas and somebody here will always have them.
Fake girlfriends          
Aba, mukha naman palang hindi totoo na nakakauha ng girlfriend ang ating dear President ng Pilipinas na si Benigno Aquino jr, known as PNOY. Parang ginagawa lang yata ng mga assistant niya para magmukha siyang playboy. At one time, he just talked to asinger and they were the talk of the town for 6 months and he did not know why becasue he has not talked to the singer afterwards. Iyon pala, his assistant has been sending flowers to the singer without his knowledge. kaya kapag bumalik ako sa Pilipinas, magpapadala ako ng mg aflowers sa lahat ng mga magagandang artista doon. Ganoon lang naman kadali masulat sa mga society pages ng mga newspaper at magazine doon. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I am shocked nobody has heard of my newspaper Little Manila Confidential

Sus Roxanne Ginoo naman kayo. Porke hindi lang kayo nabigyan ng badge, galit na kayo. I actually prefer not to have  badge. Dagdag na nakasabit pa sa akin iyon. Dalawa na nga ang mga camera na nakasabit sa akin, tapos, mabubuhol pa ako sa badge. OK na iyong wrist band. Kapag nakita ng security sa press area, hindi ka na nila iistorbohin. Romeo Marquez also got mad that nobody at the front desk has heard of Digital Journal, an internet-based "newspaper." Well, I never would have heard of it also if I was not on the email list that he sends to regularly. I already publish a newspaper and I am shocked that not all of Toronto has heard of it also. I am shocked. Shocked. (FAKE SARCASM)

Now, I know Romeo Marquez is not an impartial reporter when he said PCCF - Pinoy Fiesta was huge. It was not. However, it was just as successful. Besides, it is not the size of the festival. It is the success of the festival, regardless of the size. For the record, Rosemer Enverga and PCCF - Pinoy Fiesta advertised with me while PIDC did not. But I will not say that PCCF was huge. But I will say this - it was just as successful.  

It is no different than a newspaper. You can publish a 60-page newspaper or a 28-page newspaper. But if your 60-page newspaper does not have enough advertising, you are losing money and making it hard for yourself to deliver  the paper, not to mention, your vehicle and the gas it consumes -  assuming you are also doing the delivery. If you have a 28-page newspaper and you have enough to cover the expenses and with profit left over, then you are more successful. What I am saying is this - you do not have to be big to be successful. But it is more important to be successful, regardless of the size of the undertaking. 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE/The Filipino Web Channel - Redefining Community News
Currents & Breaking News 
 Volume 5, Issue No. 16
/ News That Fears None, Views That Favor Nobody /

 . . . . A community service of The Filipino Web Channel (TheFilipinoWebChannel@gmail.com) and the Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@gmail.com) for the information and understanding of Filipinos and the diverse communities in North America . . . . . .

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Monday, July 25, 2011 

~  PIDC (Philippine Independence Day Council), the self-appointed prime mover of community festivities related to freedom day in Toronto, has gone from bad to worse. What it calls "a slew of successful events" were attended by one monstrous gaffe after another, generating unflattering comments from independent media, the group that's apparently targeted to have a hard time with the organization. At its festival on Saturday (July 23, 2011) at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, PIDC became selective in allowing who to cover its events, favoring the "friendlies" with easy access and saddling the "unfriendlies" with a requirement that amounts to censorship and media infringement. It's unbridled prejudice against those who question its affairs as a non-profit organization.
  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Toronto's PIDC Has Gone from Bad to Worse
Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
and National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC)
TORONTO - I went there with an open mind. I wanted to disprove my growing perception that Philippine Independence Day Council was not at all callous to journalistic inquiries. I needed to find out the truth in the portrayal by some Filipino newspapers that top PIDC officials, notably Minda Neri, were really good, honest and capable leaders.
My earlier unsympathetic impressions were ready to be cast off this Saturday, June 23, 2011 at the staging of yet another feast at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Mabuhay Festival led by PIDC and co-sponsored by Kapamilya of TFC.
It's hard to say it's a community event unless the Kapamilya subscribers - meaning those who pay to watch the endless stream of soap operas and the usual singing, shrieking and dancing on TV - are the community.The more accurate way to say it is that PIDC-Kapamilya is just a fraction of a bigger community.
An event of greater significance to me was the huge picnic, also on Saturday, by the Bicolanos at Earl Bales Park, which I missed, unfortunately, because of another commitment. Between PIDC's extravaganza and this picnic, I prefer the latter simply because one finds true hospitality and real friendship there, not the fancy smiles of false teeth and the pretense of warm greetings PIDC is quite famous for.
I had intended to come at my usual time, which is at least 15 minutes before the event. On Saturday it was impossible to do that, for, again, the PIDC festival conflicted with the launching of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines - Canada. I had no second thoughts going to the latter.

The reason is that PIDC's entertainment fare was nothing new and could be accessed anytime on TV. Besides, the PIDC officials I had eagerly wanted to interview would surely become so busy again, chatting and eating, or simply hiding from the prying eyes of the press.
On the other hand, it's quite rare to break bread with colleagues in the working press for their time is as valuable as mine. Therefore, one need not belabor it, just go to NUJP, which was what I did.
When the NUJP event ended in mid-afternoon, I decided to go with friends to the PIDC festival. In the car with journalists Tenny Soriano and Butch Galicia, my mind was wandering. Would I be able to get somebody from PIDC to talk about Mabuhay Festival, its latest money-making venture? The PIDC is one fat cow again, I mused, but is it a milking cow?
Then I remember my experience a month ago at the PIDC picnic at Earl Bales Park where one monstrous gaffe after another came in torrents. My mind also thought about the miscues at the PIDC flag-raising at Queen's Park on June 12 and the gala event preceding that that saw an agitated Consul General Pedro Chan silently protesting the shabby treatment he got from PIDC partygoers who seemed enamored with Premier Dalton McGuinty.
After almost an hour snaking through the maze of side streets from High Park, we finally reached Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown. Tenny Soriano had repeatedly assured me that he had included my name in a list of reporters submitted to PIDC for accreditation to cover the festival.
Well, I thought that it was unncessary because PIDC officials knew who the real journalists are from card-collecting pretenders who are supposedly reporters, writers, photographers, etc. of some local newspapers. By face, if not by name, they could tell who's who. But PIDC had to be in control and the requirement made the organization look powerful.
While waiting at the lounge, I decided to take a quick look at the festival at one of the centre's function rooms in the basement. I wore my press credentials and brought out my camera. Then I walked into the cavernous hall, unchallenged by volunteers, aides and security guards.
Inside, I took videos and pictures and even had a brief interview with some business people while the PA system blared so loud the sound, perhaps amplified a thousand times, could shatter one's eardrums and let loose a spoonful of earwax. A face-to-face conversation was impossible to conduct.
I walked around the length and breadth of the whole area trying to compare a similar event by the Philippine Canadian Charity Foundation-Kapuso a month earlier in the same building.
It's no longer a question of which attracted the most number of people, rather, it was a question of which had the big splash. PCCF-Kapuso was huge, in fact, it was the biggest fiesta by Filipinos. PIDC-Kapamilya was also sizable, the magnitude of its bulk could be measured in the way they jammed the hall with ear-splitting noise and the choreographed shrieks of fans.
I could not stand the noise level. If I had wanted good entertainment, the place to go was not this PIDC event. But I was working, so I lingered for another five minutes, then happily walked out of the hall. At the lounge area on the ground floor, Butch Galicia was narrating his bad encounter with PIDC officials at the media booth.
"Sayang wala ka doon," he greeted me as I approached him. Why, what happened, I asked.
He got his accreditation, which was not an ID card or anything, but a red ribbon the media volunteers attached to his wrist. He said he tore it after he was asked to sign a waiver.
Nobody in his right mind would, so Butch firmly refused, and gave back the piece of paper. "It was an infringement on press freedom," he said.
Curious about the incident I went down to see if the volunteers would do the same thing to me. I had entered the hall earlier without anybody checking my press credentials and did not tell anyone in the media booth until later.
I told the volunteers my name, showed my IDs and asked to be given the accreditation. The man and woman volunteers searched for my name in their list and it wasn't there. The woman asked for my name again and my media outfit. Instead of answering her, I showed my press cards with my name, picture and media entities I represent.
She looked up the list again. There was no name like my name. Then the other woman repeated, for the third time, the question of what newspaper I write for. To make it understandable, she mentioned names of newspapers she's most familiar with.
I replied that I already gave her my answer - that I don't have a newspaper! I said everything you wanted to know about me can be found in my press cards. "Hmmm, Digital Journal, what's that?" I almost lost my temper. But I held on, realizing now that the people at the media booth are a bunch of misinformed if not ignorant volunteers.
One of the volunteers called a PIDC official, Imie Belanger, who recognized me and motioned the volunteers to give me a red ribbon. Before they would put it on my wrist, they asked me to sign the waiver.
I asked what it was, and the man said in Tagalog: "don't worry, it's not something that would land you in jail". I examined the piece of paper and took photographs of it. Butch Galicia was right and I agree with him. This is simply censorship by PIDC.
After taking pictures of the waiver, I told Imie Belanger and her volunteers that I really didn't need the red ribbon. Neither do I want to cover the event in exchange for signing the waiver.
As a matter of fact, I already got in there just to test the system, and did interviews, took videos and pictures. I had no interest going back. With that said, I gave back the red ribbon and the waiver.
Coming out of the convention centre, I realize that my initial impression about PIDC was correct. This Saturday, PIDC has just gone from bad to worse.
  (This Currents & Breaking News may be posted online, broadcast or reprinted upon request by interested parties. Permission by the author and the editor must be obtained before any re-posting online or re-publication in print or re-broadcast. Copyright by Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Volume 5, Issue no. 16, July 25, 2011. Email at: TheFilipinoWebChannel@gmail.com PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or CurrentsBreakingNews@gmail.com).

A New Press Organization na naman?

Uphold journalistic standards           

There is a new organization of journalists in Toronto. It is the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines - Toronto. I guess it is a chapter of the Philippine organizations. It criticizes the newspapers here for having too much entertainment news. It is lead by Butch Galicia or Libretto and Tenny Soriano of Balita. According to them, “Stung by a proliferation of fake and incompetent media practitioners in the local newspaper industry, concerned Filipino journalists formed themselves into a union to work for standardized pay and to upgrade their technical skills.” Standard naman ang pay ko-near bottom. And to think publisher na nga ako. The irony is that Galicia’s Libretto is actually full of entertainment news. And hindi ba mayroon nang organizations sila Tenny and Mon Datol na Manunulat na Pilipino or something? Sus maryosep. May full time jobs na nga tayo, may 2nd, 3rd jobs, saan pa natin hahanapin ang time to upgrade skills to write. The formation was announced accompanied by a photo of the attendees. Besides Tenny Soriano and wife and Butch Galicia, I do not recognize any of the others. It looked more like a picnic photo of friends. There is only one to become a journalist anyway. Just do it. It is like becoming a great photographer - take pictures.

Filipino Journalists Want No More Freebies for Their Work


Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC)

TORONTO - Stung by a proliferation of fake and incompetent media practitioners in the local newspaper industry, concerned Filipino journalists organized themselves into a union to work for standardized pay and to upgrade their technical skills.

Toronto's Filipino community of 250,000 has at least 15 entertainment-oriented tabloids, most of them heavily dependent on press releases and reprints from publications in the Philippines.

Some publishers, editors and reporters have no background in journalism and, least of all, the ability to write, and hire non-journalists for a pittance to edit and design their publications for them, according to journalists interviewed for this story.

"You read about entertainment. You read about the good news, the bad news in the Philippines; the good news and the bad news in Canada. You read all about them . . . but how much of the content comes from home-grown writers? Not even two percent," says Butch Galicia, editor of the monthly English-language Libreto newspaper in Toronto.

The continuing slide of local journalism into disrepute is exacerbated by a woeful lack of trained and schooled journalists, a problem made apparent by the dominance of content that highlights Philippine and Canadian entertainment.

Journalists Tenny Soriano and Butch Galicia.
"The news that you read in the papers only tells you the alleluias of all organizations, including birthdays, weddings and all the sort," Galicia added.

The newly-formed National Union of Journalists of the Philippines - Canada hopes to improve the local situation.

"Our focus is on the promotion of press freedom and to work for the benefit and welfare of Filipino media practitioners in Canada and the Philippines," says Edwin Mercurio, NUJP-Canada chair.

A similar group exists in the Philippines but NUJP-Canada is the first nationally-organized union of veteran Filipino-Canadian journalists, writers, photographers and artists in North America.

Mercurio said NUJP-Canada recognizes the importance of training local media practitioners and volunteers to maintain a strong pool of talents, thus the planned Editors Weekend Trainings beginning this year.

"One of our main goals is to assist media practitioners in their just demands to be treated with dignity and respect; just compensation for their hours of work; social, health and other benefits," Mercurio stresses at the small gathering on Saturday (July 23, 2011) in High Park formally launching NUJP-Canada.

Officers, members and guests at the NUJP-Canada launching on July 23, 2011 in Toronto's High Park.

The group also expressed alarm at what it calls "the continued killings of media practitioners in the Philippines and the prevailing culture of impunity".

The Philippines holds the global distinction of having the highest number of journalists killed in one day with the massacre of 32 media persons in Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines in November 2009. Twenty-five other civilians were also killed on that same day.

"This is one of the major reasons we are compelled to act and organized this union of journalists in Canada, as a symbol of our solid and continuing support for our beleaguered colleagues in the Philippines," explains Mercurio.

He said the Philippines is considered the most dangerous country in the world for practising journalists.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Saudi Work Visa is Down

It is easy to say to "Let the Saudis get their maids from somewhere else for now." But where will our kababayans get money to feed their families? On the other hand, let the Saudis get their maids from these other countries and see if they have less trouble with them. I cannot elaborate on the trouble I am referring to or I might get in trouble. But I have one question, if the reduction of visas is tied to the "Saudization" of the workforce, why are they getting replacement from these other countries? Are they really implementing Saudization or are they just waiting for us Filipinos to bend over and accept their offer? For $400, we are giving their country a trouble-free environment. If they get it from these other countries, good luck to Saudi.

Work visas for Saudi down

July 8, 2011, 6:33pm
MANILA, Philippines — Apparently as a result of the still-unresolved labor row between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an official of the Kingdom's embassy in the Philippines has revealed that working visas being issued for Filipinos, particularly household workers (HWs), is now down from a range of 1,500-1,800 daily to only 600-700, a reduction of more than 50 percent.
Saudi Consul General Khalid Al-Kahtani learned of this development as the official explained the two issues greatly affecting the new deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
One, the Kingdom's suspension of the issuance of visas for HWs, and, two, the newly-introduced "Nitaqat" (meaning Ranges or Scopes) system, the intensified implementation of the long-standing but largely failed "Saudization" of jobs.
The suspension resulted from the Philippine demand to raise the base pay to US$400 of HWs, improvement of their work conditions, and some "intrusive" requirements from the employers.
But on the HWs issue, Kahtani said what remains now is only on the salary dispute, with his government offering about $240 dollars a month, $10 for each unused day-off while the Philippine is sticking with the $400.
As a result, Kahtani said Saudi Arabia is now presently getting its new HWs from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Kazakhstan, with the same quality of workers as those of Filipinos, but with $200 salary, or lower.
The Saudi official said the suspension could be lifted Sunday, the day after Sunday, or next month once the Philippines agrees.
Until then, the suspension of the issuance of HWs' visas will continue, he said.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Naku Ha!

Coronation or a Pit Stop          
I think it would be best if we only have one person putting the crown and the sash in our beauty pageants. How hard could it be to bring and put the sash and crown by one person? As it is now, it looks more like a medical operation in  warzone than a coronation? As it is, our coronation of a pageant winner in Toronto looks like a pit stop in a car race. Kapa na-announce ang winner, three or more people approach the winner and put the sash, the crown, give her the trophy, the roses, the envelope, and the kitchen sink. este, mali pala. Walang kitchen sink. It looks like a pit stop when you watch Nascar, Formula One or Indy. the car pulls to the pit stop, four guys remove the tire nut, four guys remove and put new tires, one guy lifts the car, one guy removes the gas cap, one guy refills the gas tank, one guy wipes the guy’s helmet, one guy gives him a kiss. Este mali pala uli. You know what I mean. Doon sa PCCF Miss Philippine Canada, may bumati pa na lalaki sa stage bigla. 

No Filipinos          
Do you remember the Hongkong writer who insulted the Filipinos a few years ago with regards to the Spratly islands? He said that we should not be telling them what to do because they employ us. Us meaning, the domestic workers in Hongkong. You probably don’t remember him Anyway, the issue is not about him. It is about some of those who defended our domestic workers. Some took the position that our domestic workers are indispensable for various reasons. Some painted scenarios what will happen to Hongkong if there were no Filipino domestic workers. Well, if Saudi Arabia pushes with it’s plans to stop hiring Filipino domestic workers, we will find out if a country can live without Filipino domestic workers.  

Bypass New York City          
Congressman Florencio Miraflores was here recently selling the Philippines as a tourist destination to expatriates. He was addressing the law and order situation in the Philippines. “What is happening in Manila, or what is happening in Mindanao is not true to the other areas of the Philippines,” he emphasized. He said crimes given prominence in the news are “isolated cases which are mostly happening in the urban areas”. He said that we can visit the Philippines, bypass Manila and go directly to our provinces. But, when there is a breakdown of law and order in the capital of any country, the iimpression reflects on the whole country. When the crime rate of New York city was so high, it affected the perception for whole state of New York. Besides, I think it’s a ridiculous idea to sell tourism to bypass the capital of any country. You can sell nature tourism to the outlying areas but everybody knows that all cultural events happen in the main city. You go to a cpaital city to see the arts, eat fine cuisine, enjoy the nighlife, watch stage shows and other diversions. 
Not safe with Security           
Authorities are now on the hunt for four men who broke into the condominium unit of an elderly Japanese couple in Makati City Saturday and took with them cash and valuables after tying up their victims.
Police Officr 3 Jemcel Acosta of the Makati City Police said four men broke into the unit of couple Akira Hishimoto, 75, and Takuo Yoshimoto, 74, at the BSA Tower on Legaspi Street in Legaspi Village around 11:30 a.m.
At knifepoint, the robbers tied down the victims, along with their Filipino secretary, Cherrie Cabacaccan, 59, and dragged them inside the comfort room. 
It was not clear why the condominium security guard allowed the men in, unless they were vouched for by any of the building residents. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New training na naman for Maids to be Laid-off by Saudi?

hatever happened to the supermaids that were supposed to command higher salary? In Hollywood, if your agent demands a salary that causes you to lose your job, you can fire that agent. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, just getting out of the country with a tourist visa is worse than getting out of Communist China. China does not restrict their citizens anymore from leaving the country. However, the Philippines now treats all it's own citizens as labor to be sold that if you do not pass through the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (AND PAY THE FEES), they give you a hard time, specially if you "look poor" to be travelling as a tourist.

Bakit ganoon?Now, if a Filipino tourist is going to Saudi, they will not let you out of the airport because they believe you are a "victim of human smuggling." You're not really a victim. They just want to make it look like they are protecting you. Even though alam mo na magiging illegal ka doon sa bansa na pupuntahan mo, they make it their business to stop you.

*You did not pass through the government processing and pay your fees.

Palace: We’re sticking to our guns on maids


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MalacaƱang said Saturday it would insist on the Philippine government’s requirements imposed on Saudis who employ Filipino domestics, even as it seeks clarification of the new Saudi policy against the hiring of new maids.
In an interview over state-run dzRB radio, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was also working to arrive at a positive resolution of the dispute over labor policies between the two countries.
“Based on what we know, they have complaints over certain requirements that our country is asking from employers, but again those requirements are based in law,” Valte said.
Asked if the government would insist on those requirements, she said: “Those policies are not just policies but those are laws put in place for the protection of our migrant workers. So that’s what we have been pursuing.”
“Even if they go abroad, our laws would still protect them,” Valte said.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Carlos Cao Jr. has said the Saudis want to pay only $200 in monthly salary or half of the $400 that the Philippines has been insisting on for its migrant workers.
“[The Saudis] want to pay only $200 in monthly salary to HSWs (household service workers) and not $400 that the Philippine government is insisting on for their benefit, welfare and protection. The new note verbale is an offshoot of the earlier note,” Cao said earlier.
Valte said the government was trying to get clarification on the non-issuance of new work permits.
“(There) are many things that need to be clarified about their policy, such as stopping the issuance of new visas, especially in the domestic services sector. We need to ask if this refers to the new hires or those who want to return, those who had been issued visas before,” Valte said.
She said the government was confident other markets would absorb the large number of migrant workers that would be turned away from Saudi Arabia if the issue isn’t resolved.
She said livelihood assistance and training awaited those that would be affected by the Saudi policy.