[The above video is a NEW video that I just posted (3 June)]

This morning Saturday 1 June 2013, I and other from associated ILPS Canada organizations–including an Filipina indigenous woman–will be headed up to northern Ontario (four hours north of Thunder Bay) to work on a grassroots project led by the women of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.

She and I will not only be there to help with the project, but also to build bridges between the struggles of the First Nations and the Philippines–especially between our indigenous peoples. (more…)

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Poster designed by Ysh Cabaña

*** The below was delivered as a spoken endorsement at the “Formal Launching of Electoral Campaign in Toronto: Migrante Partylist and Teddy Casiño” ***

I’ve been giving thought as to what to say tonight in support of Migrante Sectoral Partylist (#96 on your ballot) and Teddy Casiño of Bayan-Muna for Senator (#6).

I considered talking about how human rights violations are still rampant in the Philippines.  How over 1300 extrajudicial killings have taken place since the regime of Gloria Arroyo and have not slowed during the term of Mr ‘Matuid Na Daan’ Aquino.  Included here is the killing of Christina Jose just a couple weeks ago.  She was a human rights defender fighting for the rights of the survivors of Typhoon Pablo, survivors so neglected that they were forced to bravely take actions to claim the relief goods owed to them.

I considered talking about the fact that illegal detention, disappearances and torture are still rampant in our country.

I considered talking about how the fact that there is no national industrialization policy and mass poverty are combining with all the other factors to drive our people out. (more…)

*originally published by Herizons Magazine, summer 2012.  (by alex felipe)

“On march 8, international women’s day 2005, I was abducted by the military, held incommunicado for 12 days, brought from camp to camp, I was not given benefit of a council, and I was tortured…. they undressed me and sexually molested me.  And my case is only a microcosm of what is happening in the Philippines,” Angelina Bisuña Ipong who was released six years later with all charges dropped.

In early April 2012 three human rights defenders, including two women who are recently released political prisoners, visited Ottawa to testify at the Subcommittee for International Human Rights on what Canada can do to stem the human rights violations against activists that are all too common in the Philippines.  (more…)

We wear yellow bracelets. We pin pink ribbons to our clothing. We run a marathon with the motivation that we’re helping a fellow human being in need. But how much do we help the cause when we do these things?

 *from http://ww3.tvo.org/video/183005/being-charitable-today

Thanks to a friend I was pointed toward an interesting episode on last week’s “The Agenda” on TVO where they explore charitable giving. The above is the show description.  As Han asked me to give my thoughts on it, and since it’s Thanksgiving, I thought it would make a good holiday themed write up.  Please feel free to leave your honest opinions below.  I intend to be honest with my opinions here.

It is a time to give thanks and to reflect on how best to help the less fortunate.  In doing this often we think about charity–but I don’t.

I don’t believe in charity.  In fact I am almost completely against it.  (more…)

The Cybercrime bill is justifiably getting a lot of attention these days.  Even those not normally politicized recognize that a law that makes even the FB “sharing” of government criticism punishable by imprisonment is, well, a tad bit harsh.

“If you click ‘like,’ you can be sued, and if you share, you can also be sued,” said Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, one of the lawmakers who voted against the passage of the law.

The provision, according to Guingona, is so broad and vague that it’s not even clear who should be liable for a given statement online. And if you’re found guilty, get ready to spend up to 12 years in prison.  *from: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57522609/facebooks-like-may-land-filipinos-in-jail/

This is legal. (more…)

*this note is written as a response to a Coke viral ad titled “Coca-Cola Where Will Happiness Strike Next: The OFW Project.”  To view video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_9fQEqZCWs

* * *

Let’s get the obvious over with:  This is a FANTASTIC advertisement.  It has a strong emotional pull, high production values, and connects the product to family, struggle, and how hardship can be overcome by the simple things, like a Coca-Cola.

Well done Coke.   [insert ironic soft clap here]

I hate this ad.  I hate it with a passion.  And it seems from a casual viewing of the comments related to this viral video, that I am somehow virtually alone in thinking this.

In the ad, Coke sends a handful of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) back to the Phils to reconnect with their families.  Its central message seems to be: Coke cares about the plight of OFWs.

And there for me is the disconnect.  (more…)

Hi all,

I just wanted to link you all to my latest project blog.

“Balikbayan” is a Filipino word referring to an individual who lives outside the Philippines returning for a visit.  It is a composite word comprising of the word ‘balik’ meaning ‘to return’ and ‘bayan’ meaning ‘country,’ ‘community,’ ‘village,’ or ‘my house.’   (more…)