UKPC/FCYA - Toronto

Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter

Friday, March 24, 2006

JUSTICE FOR CRIS HUGO! Join the campaign now!

March 19, 2006
Cris Hugo, 20-year-old student leader
His only crime: fighting for truth, freedom and democracy

UKPC/FCYA-TO strongly condemns the brutal killing of Cris Hugo last Sunday, March 19, by suspected members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Cris was the coordinator for the Bicol region of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), a 10,000-strong nationwide student organization formed in 1977 as an alliance against tuition increases. The LFS has chapters in prominent universities, colleges and secondary schools all over the country.

Cris was shot by two men on a motorcycle on the evening of March 19 as he was walking home with his professor. He was rushed to the nearest hospital but was declared dead on arrival. The professor, Gremil Naz, was not harmed, which indicated that Cris, a student at Bicol University, was the specific target.

Information from Cris's peers also indicate that Cris's killing was politically motivated.
  • Cris had been receiving death threats since last year.
  • In September 2005, he was questioned police in his province Sorsogon.
  • On January 24, he was harassed by six armed men in the university.
  • He was beaten up by police and arrested, along with six other youth, at a protest rally during President Arroyo’s visit to Albay province on February 2.
It is suspected that military men from Camp Simeon Ola, which is walking distance from the university, were behind Cris’s killing.

Cris is the 33rd victim of extrajudicial killings in this year alone. Other youth and student leaders are also being targetted.
  • Raunil Mortejo, ANAKBAYAN-Davao City chairperson, was abducted on the evening of Friday, March 17, at Juna, Matina near the BAYAN office in Davao by suspected elements of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). He was boarded into a van with a covered plate number, interrogated for nearly an hour, then released.

  • Lorie Ann Cascaro, ANAKBAYAN's National Council member and Vice-Chairperson for Mindanao, was charged with seven others after being implicated as conspirators in inciting to sedition and rebellion cases.
These atrocities must stop now!

What youth in Canada can do:

League of Filipino Students (LFS), ANAKBAYAN, Philippine Daily Inquirer Online (

For story on Cris Hugo, visit

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Photos of Cris
courtesy of LFS Philippines
(Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Rebuilding People's Lives"

Concert for Leyte mudslide victims set for April 28

TORONTO -- A fundraising concert for the affected families of the Feb. 17 Leyte mudslide will be held on April 28 (Friday) at the Stephen Leacock Collegiate Auditorium (Birchmount north of Sheppard Ave.) in Scarborough, Ontario.

The mudslide in Leyte buried Guinsaugon, a village in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, Philippines. More than 400 families in Guinsaugon lost everything, their loved ones, their homes and source of economic livelihood. More than 1,000 families from the same and three other villages were moved to evacuation centers to avoid potential mudslides in their villages. They are all suffering under conditions of physical and economic dislocation.

Performing artists for the concert include Lilac Cana, Mikey Bustos, Karen Tan, Emil Zarris and Philippine Heritage Band. Other musical artists and groups are also being considered and invited. Karen Pascual Binaday heads the group that coordinates the participation of the performers.

Tickets are $20 or $30 per person. Sponsors may pay more (minimum of $100) and will have wide exposure in the promotions and in the show itself.

Cash donations for the fundraising project are welcome and donors of $15 or more will be issued tax receipts for income tax purposes by a member organization of CASJ that has a charitable number. (Please see contact persons at end of this story.)

Main organizers of the benefit concert are Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ), Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC) and Kababayan Community Centre. Participating organizations in Toronto are Lucena City Association, Justice for Jeffrey Coalition, Philippine Heritage Band, The Philippine Reporter, BALITA, Philippine Women Center of Ontario, Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada, Asociacion Negrense, Ang Negrosanon, Circulo Ilongo, Philippine Barangay Association of Toronto, First Filipino Association of Vaughan, Anakbayan, Philippine Network for Justice and Peace, SIKLAB, Filipino Canadian Association of Simcoe and Surrounding Areas and online magazine.

The funds to be raised in the concert will be sent to the Philippine-based Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC) which will undertake a livelihood assistance project that will directly benefit the 470 most affected families in the four barangays (villages) in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte who are now in evacuation centers.

The project is called "Recovering from Disaster: A Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Program in Guinsaugon, Cabac-an, Ayahag and Sagangon". It is supported by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Toronto. Mayor David Miller, in a meeting with leaders of the Filipino community in Toronto last March 9, committed to help the fundraising concert in Toronto and the CDRC livelihood assistance project for the Leyte disaster victims. He mentioned possible assistance in the form of human resources and farm implements for the CDRC project.

CDRC is a 22-year old disaster response and management non-government agency with a nationwide network of regional centers and people's organizations in the Philippines. It is licensed and accredited by the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) to implement relief, rehabilitation, preparedness and mitigation programs. It has served three million Filipinos in disaster areas since 1984 and receives support and works with humanitarian organizations and foreign governmental agencies.

Among the partners and supporters of CDRC are Diakonie Emergency Aid-Germany, AA, Germen Foreign Ministry, Dutch InterChurch Aid, Christian Aid, Caritas Switzerland, Dutch Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, European Commission Humanitarian Office, European Commission Delegation to the Philippines, UNICEF, and Oxfam Great Britain.

According to the CDRC Project Proposal, the following are the specific aims of the program:
1. Provide economic livelihood assistance in the form of agricultural support to 470 most vulnerable and most affected families in barangays Guinsaugon, Cabac-an, Ayahag and Sagangon and consequently contribute to food production and sustainability for the affected families.
2. Build up the community members' capacities in the four barangays in disaster preparedness and mitigation through education and training using the community-based disaster management approach.

The project will help ensure that there is food on the table of the 470 families for a period of at least one year and it will significantly help them rebuild their lives from the devastation brought by the disaster.

For further inquiries, please contact Edwin Mercurio (416) 709-7884, Hermie Garcia (416) 461-8694 or (416) 500-8694 of Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) or Jun Enverga, president of Philippine Indepedence Day Council (PIDC) or Karen Pascual Binaday.

Email inquiries may be sent to or to

For tickets, call the contact persons above or the above-mentioned organizations.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

SOLIDARITY MESSAGE for the Vigil and Speak Out against Police Violence

March 15, 2006

UKPC/FCYA-TO members on right, at March 15 vigil spearheaded by J4J Coalition
(Photo courtesy of ML)

Good evening, friends. Warmest greetings from the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance Toronto Chapter (UKPC-TO). We are here tonight to express our solidarity with all of you in commemorating the victims of police brutality and in celebrating our continuing resistance against it.

UKPC-TO has been an active supporter of the Justice for Jeffrey campaign since its early stages. To us, the death of Jeffrey in the hands of a Toronto police officer caused a great deal of grief and anger. We mourned the loss of a fellow Filipino youth, but at the same time are enraged at the blatant example of systemic racism that Jeffrey’s killing was.

As our community here in Canada continues to grow, we are increasingly becoming targets of systemic racism by police. Since Jeffrey’s death, many of our fellow Filipino youth have begun to share their own stories of unpleasant encounters with police – these include arrests, strip searches or simply being questioned for walking around their own neighbourhoods. Last November, the Toronto Police Service issued a public warning describing a rape suspect as “Latino or Asian, possibly Filipino.” These warnings were posted along public places, such as coffee shops and subway stations.

For the past several years, our community’s identity has been diminished to stereotypes that are the result of limits Canadian society imposes on us. Filipinos are known by many simply as nannies, workers in the lowest-paying and least desirable jobs. Today, the racial profiling of Filipinos creates another false identity for us, that of criminals.

As a youth organization that fights for the rights and well-being of Filipino Canadian youth, we in UKPC-TO are deeply concerned about this because: first, it destroys our identity because it teaches us that we as Filipino Canadian youth have nothing to be proud of; second, it endangers our safety since it makes us potential targets of harassment and brutality by those whose duty is “to serve and protect”; and lastly, it greatly limits the possibilities for our future, and that of our community.

Hence, we in UKPC-TO unite with our Black, Aboriginal, Latino, immigrant, poor, homeless sisters and brothers, and others who have long experienced and struggled against police brutality and systemic oppression. We stand together with you in the struggle to find justice for those who have fallen victim to this, and celebrate our solidarity and continuous and growing resistance against state-sanctioned violence.

For more photos of the vigil visit:
John Bonner's photo gallery (Copyrighted images - for viewing only) -
SIKLAB-Ontario's photo album

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MARCH 15: Vigil and Speak Out Against Police Violence

On March 15, 2006, the International Day Against Police Brutality**, concerned Toronto community members will gather to commemorate victims and survivors of police violence, and celebrate people’s resistance to oppression. All over the world, people fall victim to torture, abuse and brutality, everyday! People of all colours, religions and cultures continuously fall victim to this systemic brutality- actions that are tolerated and encouraged by governments.

As part of this internationally observed day, a peaceful vigil will be held in front of the Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College St on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 6:00pm (College and Bay Streets, Downtown Toronto).

In Toronto, this event is being coordinated by the Justice for Jeffrey Coalition (J4J), with participation from the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) and other concerned community groups. J4J has been instrumental in struggling for truth and justice in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica by Toronto Police. A Coroners Inquest will begin on May 8th, 2006.

Your presence will show that this injustice exists right before our very eyes. The lives that were ended viciously should never be forgotten. Please be part of the struggle to completely eliminate police brutality here, and everywhere.

Justice for Jeffrey Reodica Coalition (J4J)
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance (UKPC/FCYA)
Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ)
Black Action Defense Committee (BADC)

For more info or to endorse this event, visit

Contact Persons:
J4J – Joel Reodica / 416.895.0555
UKPC/FCYA – Mithi Esguerra / 647.273.6553


** The International Day Against Police Brutality occurs on March 15. It first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Black Flag Collective in Switzerland, with the help of the 'Montreal Collective Opposed to Police Brutality'. The date was chosen because on March 15, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by the Swiss police. Since its first year, the annual International Day Against Police Brutality has been a success, with more than 50 groups within 14 countries participating in 1997.

Monday, March 06, 2006


In celebration of International Women's Day,
the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
will hold a screening of the documentary film

Say I Do
on Sunday, March 12, 2006,
1:00-4:00 p.m.
at the Bahen Centre
(room BA1230),
University of Toronto
40 St. George Street, south of Russell Street

followed by a report on the results
of the community-based research
Canada:The New Frontier for Filipino Mail-Order Brides.

The compelling documentary Say I Do chronicles the stories of three mail-order brides from the Philippines now living in Canada. In order to escape lives of poverty and support their families, these women married men they didn't know. Upon arriving in Canada, they found themselves isolated in the remote regions of the country. With no one to turn to, these women were at the mercy of their husbands - men who searched for women with traditional family values.

Say I Do is a powerful indictment of a growing mail-order bride industry that results from the economic industry that results from the economic consequences of globalization and the proliferation of websites that "traffic women." As the political and economic crises in the Philippines intensify, so does the trafficking of Filipino women to industrialized countries like Canada. The feminization and commodification of the migration of Filipino women to Canada as domestic workers, mail-order brides and entertainers/prostitutes are rapidly increasing as more and more Filipino women are forced to leave the Philippines in hopes of living better and decent lives. This global trafficking of Filipino women includes a significant number of women who leave the country as mail-order brides - marrying men from various industrialized countries. 600,000 Filipino women are trafficked globally - 1 out of 4 are children.

Under intensifying globalization, women have now become commodities to be bought and sold for profit on the international market. According to the United Nations, the trafficking of women is the third most profitable industry after the trafficking of arms and drugs. As such, in the midst of intensifying globalization, mail-order brides have become a major component of the international trafficking of women, with Canada becoming a destination for Filipino mail-order brides. For many Filipino women in Canada, mail-order brides are slowly emerging as a new identity or a social construct that stigmatizes the women and makes them virtual modern-day slaves. Thus,
it is impossible to examine the Canadian dimension of trafficking of women without acknowledging the growing presence of Filipino mail-order brides. It is critical that their situation, needs and struggles be brought our into public consciousness.

Filipino women in Canada are in strong resistance and the movement to end the trafficking of Filipino women and children is gaining further momentum through the Purple Rose Campaign (PRC)- an international campaign to end the sex trafficking of Filipino women and children. The PRC aims to increase public awareness around the issue of trafficking, to support the research and documentation of trafficked women and to raise funds for GABRIELA Philippines - a national alliance of women's organization).

For more information, contact Joy or Cynthia @
416-878-8772 or email

Fundraiser for Leyte landslide victims a huge success

Len Cervantes performs a spoken word piece entitled "I Am Struggle"
at fundraiser for victims of Leyte landslide

UKPC/FCYA-TO co-organized a successful fundraiser for the victims of the Southern Leyte mudslide last Sunday, March 6. The event, entitled “It Takes a Village: A Relief Effort from Toronto’s Emerging Filipino Community” was the result of a first-time collaboration between various youth-led groups and individuals in the Filipino community. The organizers included UKPC/FCYA-TO, Len Cervantes of Kapisanan Philippine Centre, Minerva Records, From the Bamboo Poetry Collective and the Filipino Students’ Association of Toronto.

The event raised a total of $914 from entrance fees and raffle sales, plus almost enough canned goods and other items to fill a door-to-door box. Besides gathering material support, the event also raised awareness on the disaster, its causes and impact on the affected communities. A slide show from the Citizens’ Disaster Response Centre (CDRC) in the Philippines – the organization to which the donations will be sent – was played at the beginning of the show.

The evening was filled with positive energy as talented young musicians and spoken word artists showcased their talents for a good cause. “It Takes a Village” was an astounding demonstration of the solidarity among our youth in the face of tragedy. It also showed the strong connection that Filipino Canadian youth have to our motherland, regardless of whether they are first or second-generation Canadians.

Bouncers - tough as nails.

Everyone and their mama pays!

Len and Balance - Coordinate! Coordinate! Coordinate!

Minerva boyz

From the Bamboo poets with Minerva musicians

Full house

SIKLABers by the bar

UKPC-TO special edition t-shirts raffled off
(SIKLAB t-shirts on left; Rice Cafe t-shirts, cap and CD's in the back)

UKPC-TO seesters modeling our new t-shirts!

For more photos, see Alex Felipe's gallery at

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It Takes a Village: A Relief Effort from Toronto's Emerging Filipino Community

Press Release
March 3, 2006

Young Filipino Canadians offer music and poetry for relief

TORONTO – Toronto’s young Filipino Canadian community is coming together this Sunday, March 5 for a show entitled “It Takes a Village: A Relief Effort from Toronto’s Emerging Filipino Community.” The event, to be held at Reilly’s Bar and Grill on 340 Yonge Street, is an unprecedented collaboration of different youth-led groups and artists from the community, aiming to raise funds for the victims of a recent landslide in the Philippines.

The landslide, which happened on February 17, left an entire village in St. Bernard town in Southern Leyte province covered in mud. Among those initially reported missing were six teachers and 206 students who were in the village schoolhouse when the tragedy struck. Reports from February 20-21 indicate 1,004 people missing, 94 people dead, and 19 injured. Massive relief and rescue operations continue to be conducted by government and non-government agencies in the Philippines, while residents from neighbouring villages have been evacuated for fear of another landslide.

In Toronto, “It Takes a Village” is the first of many fundraising events being planned by the Filipino community. “The tragedy highlighted not only the need for urgent action, but an opportunity for the young artists of this community to showcase their talents for a worthy cause,” says Len Cervantes of Kapisanan Philippine Centre. “Through countless email strings and last-minute meetings, we were able to come together and prove that not only are we a community of artists on the rise, we are also unified and committed to taking responsibility for the plight of our homeland.” In addition to raising funds, the organizers of the event hope to spread awareness about the ongoing situation in the Philippines.

“It Takes a Village” will feature music and spoken word poetry from talented Filipino Canadian artists like DJ Prime Choice, Kat, Balance, Dick Fitzwell, Fenaxis, Uniqual, Out of Luck, Kate Delmo, Jessica David, with many more names to be added by showtime.

Proceeds will be sent through the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), a community-based NGO which conducts emergency response, long-term rehabilitation and advocacy for disaster-prone communities in the Philippines. For information, visit

“It Takes a Village” is organized by Kapisanan Philippine Centre, the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance Toronto Chapter, Rice-Café.com, Minerva Records, From the Bamboo Poetry Collective, the Filipino Students’ Association of Toronto, the Filipino Students Association of York University and the Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson.

For updated show information, check www.rice-café.com or

Contact Persons:

Len Cervantes
Kapisanan Philippine Centre
(416) 427-7167

Mithi Esguerra
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance Toronto Chapter (UKPC/FCYA-TO)
(647) 273-6553

Note to Media: Please confirm arrival time.