If unstopped SM to sit beside the San Nicolas Church,IN soon

San Nicolas Catholic Church


We, the undersigned Catholics of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino and other concerned Catholics respectfully bring to Your Excellency our serious concern about the seemingly imminent lease or probably sale of a southern portion of the lot on which the Catholic Church stands. We only came to know this from some concerned Catholics of the town. Although we do not have a direct knowledge about this rumor, we are convinced it is true.

Visualizing what may happen next, this is the scenario we believe will transpire: that the southeastern portion of the Catholic lot immediately adjacent to the Catholic Church will be leased or maybe sold to SM, a giant commercial corporation that operates malls in different parts of the Philippines. How big the land to be leased is only a matter of our imagination but it could be the site of the convent and probably to include the eastern side of the original building of Santa Rosa Academy.

The size of the land rented or leased whether small or big is not important to us. What concerns us is the desecration of a sacred ground and the invasion of the privacy of our Catholic Church and Sta. Rosa Academy considering the fact that the commercial building will be built just beside the Catholic Church on its southern side and adjacent to the old building of Sta. Rosa Academy on its eastern side.

Please note Your Excellency, that the said place to be leased constitutes the most prominent portion of the lot of the Catholic Church. It is, to us, of sacred significance. The prominent location of the place is the reason why Father Fidel Albano, a parish priest of San Nicolas, selected the place as the site of the present convent. That was in the twilight of the 19th century. The construction of the present convento was necessary after Father Fidel Albano handed the old convento (now the main building of Sta. Rosa Academy) to the religious sisters who were asked to administer the school.

The present convento was constructed by the Catholics of San Nicolas under the leadership of the parish priest, Father Fidel Albano. We object to its being torn down and relocated.

True, renting the site of the convento and some buildings of sta. Rosa Academy on its eastern side will generate millions of pesos in revenue. But for what purpose? And at what expense? Will the end justify the means? Does the Catholic Church of San Nicolas, which comprise the Catholics of the town, need that money badly? Is the revenue of the church as of now failing so badly? On the contrary, the revenue of the church is sound. It is good!

It is worthy to note that while a house of worship and a school should be insulated from the material world, at San Nicolas a design is in the making to define the sacredness of the church by building, a mall just beside it and pollute its spiritual atmosphere with materialism. The presence of the mall just beside Sta. Rosa Academy will destroy its academic dignity. This will scandalize us, the Catholic faithful.

Relative to the operation of a mall, just beside the church, we are reminded of the scene when Jesus witnessed repulsive materialism that corrupted a church of god (temple). He saw people making money right in the temple of God, and in anger, He protested and cried aloud, “Take those things (referring to the objects sold in the temple) and do not make the house of my Father a house of business.” (John 2:16). Is not placing a mall for the sake of money, just beside the church a desecration of the church of God?

At Laoag City business establishments are indeed located around the Cathedral and this situation maybe used as justification for the building and operation of the mall beside the church of San Nicolas. However, the situation at the Cathedral of Laoag and the Church of San Nicolas are two very different things. The business establishments such as Chowking, Jollibee, McDonald’s etc operating on land owned by the Cathedral are at a decent distance from the church. At San Nicolas, SM will be sitting just beside the Catholic Church. The very thought of it is not only shocking but obnoxious and repulsive to the decency of the concerned Catholics of San Nicolas.

The undersigned would have no opposition to a mall built on the church property on the vacant lot north of the church as long as it is built at least at a decent distance of about 30 meters away from the northern wall of the Catholic Church. The Catholics of San Nicolas however desire transparency and involvement in the project itself.

In case the needs of the church for repairs is made as an excuse for the lease. Throughout the centuries when the church was destroyed by typhoon, fires and earthquakes, the Catholics of the town were forthcoming in producing the funds for such repairs.

In the construction of the floor of the church and other projects, did not the Catholics of San Nicolas (with help from other people) make the projects a reality? No less than Father Danny Laeda said so during the closing ceremony at the Plaza during the feast of Christ the King on November 2010. Therefore, there is no need to lease the site of the present convent and its surroundings to SM just to produce money.

Premises considered the undersigned and all other Catholics who may not have signed this Manifesto but support its cause voice their strong objection to the lease of the lot where the present convent stands and adjoining lots. They strongly oppose the transfer of the convent to the lot north of the Church.

Truly yours in Christ:

Ma. Cielito Valdes-Lejano (Quezon City, Philippines)
Leonardo B. Lejano (Quezon City, Philippines)
Alegria Albano-Imperial (Vancouver, Canada, formerly of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte and Manila)
Elizabeth Medina (Chile)–granddaughter of the late
Gov. Emilio Ortega Medina of Dingras, Ilocos Norte

Victoria Rosario Albano (Vancouver, Canada, formerly of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte)

If you support this ‘plea’, you may want to add your name in this manifesto by leaving it as a comment and I’ll add it here.

Dios ti agngina ken sapay koma ta denggen ti Apo daytoy a dawat tayo.

Also posted at

The Live-in Caregiver Program changing?


“Yet another tactic to continue modern-day slavery program”—Filipino organizations

Vancouver, BC–Progressive Filipino women, workers and youth representing the aggrieved Filipino community maintain that the changes made on the federal government’s live-in caregiver program (LCP) announced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister Jason Kenney are yet another tactic to justify the continuation and expansion of modern-day slavery program, such as the LCP, in Canada.

The National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC), SIKLAB Canada (Filipino workers organization) and Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance (UKPC/FCYA) criticize these changes, which are purely technical, and strongly contend that the changes was made to make the racist and anti-woman LCP more palatable to Canadians in order to cover-up the systemic weaknesses inherent in immigration policies and to defend the ongoing overhaul of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), such as the passing of Bill C50 and Bill C45.

The changes

The changes which were announced last December 12, 2009 in Toronto and Vancouver include extension of the period of being able to complete the live-in requirement from three years to four years; being able to apply for permanent residency after fulfilling 3,900 hours of work; elimination of the second medical examination when applying for permanent residency; employers covering the live-in caregiver’s travel and medical costs and providing signed contracts that clearly outline work hours, overtime, sick leave and vacation, and that live-in caregivers will be able to obtain emergency work permits within three weeks if they are abused.

“All these changes are only band-aid solutions. The announcement made by Minister Kenney unravels the hypocrisy deeply embedded in CIC. They do not genuinely address the exploitation and oppression of Filipino women under the LCP and will only make life more miserable to this group of already vulnerable temporary workers,” stated Cecilia Diocson, Executive Director of the NAPWC.

Since the implementation of the LCP in 1992 and its predecessor program the Foreign Domestic Movement (FDM), Canada has maintained and continues to uphold the stringent requirements of mandatory live-in requirement for 24 months within 3 years, temporary status and employer-specific contracts – the very fundamental pillars that set the context for the exploitative and oppressive conditions that these women are in.

For over twenty years now, Filipino-Canadians have been steadfast in calling for the scrapping of the LCP. However, for over twenty years, the Canadian government through CIC, has been adamant in its efforts to continue dehumanizing workers because of their status and in maintaining the modern-day slavery of women.

Amidst the slew of changes on the LCP, the NAPWC, SIKLAB and UKPC/FCYA contend that these reforms further expose the chronic crisis in Canadian immigration strategies and policies and the government’s failure to answer the much needed social services of its citizens, such as universal childcare and eldercare programs. The LCP is the de facto national childcare program and it is also being used to pave the way for the increasing privatization of healthcare.

CIC Minister Kenney: No Santa Claus to Filipino nannies

“Minister Kenney is no Santa Claus to thousands of Filipino live-in caregivers,” Diocson continued. “These reforms are an insult to all Canadians because we have a government that fails to stop the violation of human rights of these workers and instead perpetuate violence against women,” she added.

Although many see this program as a way for Filipinos to enter Canada, the realities of the impacts of this program far outweigh the benefits of citizenship. Offering the prize of citizenship has been a classic tactic for CIC, as they dangle a “carrot on a stick” in order to attract and retain temporary workers to fulfill the dirtiest, most difficult and dangerous jobs that no other Canadians would take.

While the federal government was quick to recognize that many live-in caregivers work overtime hours and that under these new changes, they now have the option of racking up their hours towards permanent residency, the provision of being able to apply for permanent residency after completing 3,900 hours is a misnomer and a ploy to deceive live-in caregivers that their time under the LCP is shorter. 3,900 hours still amounts to two years of full-time, regular work.

“The 3,900 hours is no different from working 24 months. This is, in fact, another way of exploiting the cheap labour of these people that will only benefit the employers,” stated Roderick Carreon, National Chairperson of SIKLAB Canada. The mandatory live-in requirement places caregivers under the beck and call of their employers for 24 hours a day. Employers can easily deny the number of hours the women have worked and although they are deemed to be protected under federal and provincial labour laws, there is no way of knowing what exactly transpires within the private sphere of the employer’s home.

Many women under the LCP work overtime hours for little or no pay, even after formalizing a set of rules about overtime hours on an employment contract, if at all. Despite the myth that caregivers are “members of the family,” the live-in requirement makes it more favourable to the employers to enjoy the cheap labour of these women.

Furthermore, extending the three-year deadline for completing the work requirement to four years will only lengthen the exploitation of live-in caregivers and lengthen the separation from their families. While CIC poses that this extension widens the window of opportunity for caregivers to apply for permanent residency and accounts for disruptions such as illness, pregnancy or job loss, this extension is a conscious effort on the part of CIC to have these women remain under the LCP even longer.

What the changes really mean

Presently, live-in caregivers wait 8-12 months to obtain their open work permit. This forces them to stay with their employers for the duration of the wait due to CIC’s processing delays and bureaucratic hurdles. In addition, the extension does not account for delays in paperwork, wherein employers withhold documents necessary for permanent residency applications, such as the record of employment, T4 slips, pay stubs, etc.

In addition, the elimination of the requirement to obtain a second medical examination when applying for permanent residency does not address the fact that majority of live-in caregivers’ ability to access healthcare is tied to their work permits. Many live-in caregivers, who are in between jobs and without valid work permits, are denied access to medicare, forcing them to pay their own health insurance and medical costs.

Carreon stated, “CIC must stop playing games with the lives of thousands of Filipino live-in caregivers. The reforms made on the LCP are a testament of the lack of political will in seriously addressing the demands of temporary workers to abolish the mandatory live-in requirement, to grant them permanent residency upon arrival, and the accreditation of their professional backgrounds. It is clear that the LCP is an employer-driven program and therefore will always be at the best interest of the employers and not the live-in caregivers.”

“A program that is inherently flawed and violent can not, will not and should not be reformed,” asserted Carlo Sayo, National Chairperson of UKPC/FCYA. “As workers, we should not allow Minister Kenney to pit us against each other,” he further stated. The reforms introduced by Minister Kenney is a measure to quell the escalating revelation of tremendous human rights and women’s rights violations that are legalized, authorized and stamped by CIC. Filipino women, workers and youth will remain vigilant in their struggle to end the exploitation and violence of these live-in caregivers as women and as workers.


Contact information:

In Toronto: Magkaisa Centre, 416-519-2553;

In Montreal: Kapit-Bisig Centre, 514-678-3901;

In Vancouver: Kalayaan Centre, 604-682-3901;

As published in Silangan, Philippine News and Views, Vancouver, BC

War Film premiered in BC top-billed in WWII filmfest

West Coast Heritage Month

 “Unsurrendered: 100 Voices”, screened for its world premiere in Vancouver last year and “Manila 1945: The Forgotten Atrocities”, winner, Best Documentary Award in Historical Category, 2007 Myrtle Beach International Film Festival South Carolina, USA  both by Ma. Miguel “Lucky” Guillermo, will top bill the West Coast’s “Philippine Heritage Month” this October. Also included is “Secret War” also by Guillermo, making up the third billing that will highlight the WWII Filmfest in Los Angeles and San Diego, which is part of the celebrations.

war memories

Before the filmfest, Seafood City, the major sponsor, will present the films in a road show at its newly opened mall at Concord in northern California. A benefit show will also be staged at the newly established Intramuros, a theatre-restaurant at downtown So. San Francisco. Beneficiaries of the dinner-concert proceeds are Ayala Foundation-USA and the Stingray Memorial in northern Philippines.

In Vancouver, both films shown at the 2008 World Peace Forum (WPF) rolled to an audi­ence of peace activists com­posed of intellectuals, historians, researchers, professionals, artists and students. In attendance were members of BC Alpha (Associa­tion of Learning and Preservation of World War II History in Asia) and Vancouver Save Article 9 Committee. For its world pre­miere at Marpole Place, “ Unsur­rendered…” played to members of the Philippine Veterans and Ex-Service Men Society of BC as well as members of MOACS (Marpole Oakridge Area Council Society), which included a retired professor of the University of Columbia and friends of Canadian war veterans.


Guillermo in his introduction of “Manila 1945 …”reflected how unprepared the Filipinos were, thus, “When people refer to “the war” in conversations now, it is often unclear as to what they are talking about. Not long ago, how­ever, it was The War, WWII, that is. And for those of us who lived in the Philippines before that war, during, and after, there was no other war.”


audience at the 2008 World Peace Conference, Vancouver

audience at the 2008 World Peace Conference, Vancouver

At the WPF, “Manila 1945…”drew out discussions that focused on “true paths to peace.” Elsie Dean, WPF organizer, said of the film “… we talk about the war but it is films like this that make us see war up close as it should …as we don’t know much about it”. The film presents with actual photographs and film footages from US archives the brutal acts committed by the Japanese in February 1945 on Manila, already declared an “open city”. Around 100,000 civilians as recorded, died, a figure that places Manila second only to Warsaw in extent of destruction.


Part of Guillermo’s introduc­tion revealed how he and Parsons “spent a lot of time researching on this subject. We do not subscribe to the old, politically-correct or revisionist version that the Japa­nese were innocent of the mas­sacre in Manila of February, 1945. The killing of Filipino civilians, men women and children, was a deliberately orchestrated series of events. The truth is, Japanese military were not trapped in Ma­nila dungeons, and well into Feb­ruary, they had escape routes.”


More than “ingredients” for peace, the films drew out emotional responses. At the screening of “ Unsurren­dered…”, Erie Maestro, member volunteer of Canada-Phil­ippines Solidarity for Human Rights and Migrante B.C., stated the legacy she would want to pass on to her chil­dren: “ how my father then a mere high school boy, joined the resistance. I t must be remembered that UD efforts focused on the European front, and after the Americans surrendered to the Japanese, no aid came from the US until MacArthur decided to return. It was the guerilla men and women, like my father, who continued the resistance against the Japanese during the war. It was the organized Filipino guerilla movement and the Filipino people who helped the guerillas liberate the Philippines; it was not Ma­cArthur. The Americans were the ones who surrendered, not us.”


Among the Filipino veterans at the Marpole Place world premiere, most relived guerilla days as teens: lanky boys joining up, young women crossing enemy lines to bring food, men hiding in bamboo groves. Riveting accounts rendered the audience speechless, especially in the truth­ful retelling of how in the midst of defeat, the guerillas started fighting each other, some turning in fellow Filipinos to the enemy.


But the film’s ending clinched emotions: how in that fierce fighting the guerillas waged alongside the Ameri­cans, and promised recognition on equal terms, the Filipi­nos to this day under the US Congress Recission Act have been denied of their claim. Miguel (Lucky) Guillermo, artistic director, is the son of a noted guerrilla leader in northern Philippines, Antonio Guillermo aka “Silver”. Peter Parsons, scriptwriter, is the son of Cmdr. Chick Parsons who organized the submarines that supplied the guerrillas with everything they needed. Other documentaries about WWII they have collaborat­ed on are: “Ships from Hell”; “Anchored in Freedom; Enshrined in Friendship”.

Multi-cultural groups appeal to Japan: Keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace
July 18, 2009, 7:05 pm
Filed under: history, news | Tags: , , , ,
July 9 press conference for the signing of an open letter appealing to the visisting Japanese Emperor and Empress to help uphold Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

July 9 press conference for the signing of an open letter appealing to the visisting Japanese Emperor and Empress to help uphold Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

Philippine war veterans of BC among signatories

by Alegria Imperial

“Help bring healing and justice to the victims of atrocities committed by Japan before and during the Asia-Pacific War, help endeavours to keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace.” Thus appealed members of multi-cultural groups in Canada to the Japanese Emperor and Empress in an open letter to their highnesses on their recent visit to Canada.

Article 9 is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately following World War II.


The official English translation reads: “ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potentials, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”


The signatories from left seated: Florchita Bautista, Satoko Norimatsu, Thekla Lit, Marlene LeGates; standing from left: Tatsuo Kage, Fernando P. Salanga, Kevin Sung

The signatories from left seated: Florchita Bautista, Satoko Norimatsu, Thekla Lit, Marlene LeGates; standing from left: Tatsuo Kage, Fernando P. Salanga, Kevin Sung

Signatories of the open letter, which Thekla Lit Canada co-chair and BC president the Association of Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (ALPHA) initiated and presented in a press conference on July 9, are: Tatsuo Kage, member, Human Rights Committee of Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, Satoko Norimatsu, founding director, Peace Philosophy Centre, Florchita Bautista, committee member, Migrante, BC and Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Marlene LeGates, Ph. D., acting president, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Vancouver, and Kevin Sung director, Korean Drama Club Hanuree represent the Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European multi-cultural communities in Canada. 


While the emperor has no power under the constitution, his persuasive powers are still widely recognized as the letter cited: “For example, your paying tribute to the Korean victims’ monument when you visited Saipan in 2005 was considered a gesture of reconciliation.  When you visited China in 1992, you also expressed regret for the suffering that Japan brought to China during the Asia-Pacific War.  Your words were a positive step toward healing a historical wound.  Your 1993 visit to the Okinawa sites where tens of thousands of civilians died in the war was also appreciated by many people throughout Japan and beyond.” 


Specifically, the letter urges “ such redress offered to the Canadian POWs captured in the Battle of Hong Kong and to the victims of China, Korea, the Philippines, and all the other countries and regions where Japan’s military committed war crimes.”  The appeal of the signatories “to see Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution remain as it is, as we and many people in Asia see Article 9 as Japan’s pledge to the world never again to engage in wars of aggression” comes in the wake of yet unconfirmed talks with the US and Russia for Japan to possibly re-militarize or re-arm, being a neighbour of nuclear-armed North Korea, according to Satoko Norimatsu.


Tatsuo Kage, in his brief introduction of himself revealed that he and the emperor being born in the same year spent the same boyhood, marrying about the same time as well. Now as a citizen of Canada, he has joined other voices pressing for Japan for redress of its atrocities. In a statement cited by Thekla Lit during the 2000 “Day of Peace in the Pacific” celebration, Kage felt the Japanese should consider how “Japanese Canadians had got their redress from the Canadian government for their unjust internment during WW II and so they know how important redress is for victims and survivors.”


Florchita Bautista, recalled how her father was incarcerated and tortured by the Japanese for refusing appointment to be a “puppet governor” of his province during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. Having witnessed the cruelty the Japanese inflicted on her father, Bautista talked of her “deep hatred” for the Japanese. Until one day as a nun (she has left the convent since), sharing her feelings with another nun, her roommate, Bautista found peace—that other nun, a Japanese, turned out to be General Yamashita’s niece who asked forgiveness.


In a statement he read before signing the letter, Fernando Salanga said, “War never dies with its heroes or its traitors. It is never forgotten for a reason. And the reason is for us to learn and be able to attain peace. But peace has some requirements, if you may, like what we are clamouring in this letter we

Fernando P. Salanga signs the letter while Marlene LeGates look on.

Fernando P. Salanga signs the letter while Marlene LeGates look on.

are signing today … Peace in the world may still be a dream but not the peace we have long hoped for from World War II. That war united us in the struggle for freedom, may its memories strengthen us for peace.” Like Bautista, the Japanese also executed Salanga’s father on the spot for refusing “to bow,” which however, Salanga failed to mention during the press conference.