UKPC/FCYA - Toronto

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

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Making the Filipino Community Count in Ontario

Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2006


The Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON) and the National Alliance of Philippine Women In Canada (NAPWC) call for participants in its upcoming conference called “Making the Filipino Community Count in Ontario,” to be held on November 10-12, 2006 at the United Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St., Toronto.

This historic gathering marks the recognition of the continuing effort of the Filipino community to successfully settle, integrate and participate in a multicultural and multi-ethnic Canada. Filipinos comprise the fourth largest immigrant group in Canada located mainly in major cities and suburbs of Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. They are among the highest and most educated of immigrants, but also among those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy. Most are women (around 65% of all Filipinos in Canada) many of who have come and continue to come under the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) which suggests an increasing feminization of migration among Filipinos. The combined status as immigrants and people of colour has been a major factor in their consignment to occupationally segregated and low wage sectors of the economy.

This conference is also in collaboration with NAPWC's three-year project that addresses the program of Multiculturalism Canada to "assist in the development of strategies that facilitate full and active participation of ethnic and cultural communities and improve the ability of public institutions to respond to ethnic and cultural diversity by assisting in the identification and removal of barriers to equitable access and by supporting the involvement of these communities in public decision-making processes."*

"As the fourth largest immigrant group in Canada, this gathering is a realization of our community's need for genuine equality and development towards our full participation in a multicultural Canada," states Cynthia Palmaria, Vice Chairperson PWC of Ontario. She further asserts that "while our community continues to grow, more and more highly skilled and highly educated Filipinos are segregated in low paying service-sector jobs, such as childcare and janitorial jobs that trap them in a cycle of poverty."

The conference will touch on four major areas of concern to the community – economic marginalization, systemic racism and social exclusion, women’s equality and human rights, and youth issues. Panel speakers and resource persons include those who have done research and organizing work in the Filipino community.

The PWC-ON and the NAPWC look forward to your participation at this important event.

For more information or to register, contact:

Joy C. Sioson
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
416-878-8772 / 416-656-2660

Cecilia Diocson
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada

*UKPC/FCYA-TO is a participant in the NAPWC project supported by Multiculturalism Canada.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance presents
Friday, October 20, 2006
8:30 - 10:15 PM
Down One Lounge
49 Front St. (West of Church)

Suggested donation:
$5-10 sliding scale
19 and over event

Live performanes of
Hip Hop | R&B | Acoustic | Filipino Dance | Beatboxing

Folklorico Dance Company
John Flores
Marce & Souldags
Sick Sound Syndrome
Masia One

With Special Guest Host
Brooklyn Ny Emcee WORDSWORTH
& with DJs Sweet Touch Foundation & DJ Prime Choice

For more info:
Text (604) 910-6969 |
Call (647) 273-6553 |

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Communiqué: Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights launched

UKPC/FCYA-TO is a member of the Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights.

17 October 2006

Canadians come together to support genuine human rights in the Philippines:
Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights launched

Canadians and Filipinos came together to form the Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights (PCTFHR) in a historic gathering in Toronto on October 14, 2006.

Over 40 people from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver, both members and individual supporters of Philippine solidarity groups and Filipino-Canadian organizations, met to discuss the formation, objectives and program of the national task force.

The Canada-wide task force was formed in response to the call for support and solidarity of the Filipino people at this time when the human rights situation in the Philippines grows more serious.

Since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001, KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights), the largest alliance of human rights organizations and advocates in the Philippines, has documented 763 victims of extra-judicial killings, more than 180 forcible disappearances and more than 200 political assassination attempts. Most of the victims are trade unionists, church people, journalists, lawyers, farmers, women, students and others actively opposing the Arroyo regime’s undemocratic and anti-people policies.

Not since the dark days of formal Martial Law under then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos have the Filipino people been subject to such levels of state terror, and has their rallying cry for solidarity been so resonant.

Building on a commitment made by Canadians to meet this rallying cry with greater efforts in the Vancouver, June 21, 2006 conference “Prospects for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy: Canadians answer the call of the Filipino people for support and solidarity”, the PCTFHR used the one-day meeting to discuss the objectives and programs of the task force as a Canada-wide formation.

The Eastern Canada and Western Canada Coordinators of the PCTFHR, Cecilia Diocson and Ning Alcuitas respectively, opened the meeting by reviewing the objectives and agenda of the day. Their opening emphasized the understanding that the creation of a national task force on human rights marks another benchmark in Canadian solidarity work with the Filipino people which has been ongoing for close to 25 years. Diocson and Alcuitas emphasized the need for such a national task force to help harness and coordinate all the local actions that have been ongoing across the country especially over this past year as more and more Canadians and Filipinos in Canada are being mobilized for the international “Stop the Killings in the Philippines” Campaign. In almost each major city in Canada, peace- and freedom-loving Canadians and Filipinos have already come together in local steering committees of the international “Stop the Killings in the Philippines” campaign. Diocson and Alcuitas underscored that the PCTFHR would help coordinate and amplify these local actions and mobilizations.

Emmanuel Sayo of the Kalayaan Resource and Training Centre and delegate of the 2005 International Solidarity Mission to the Philippines then provided a short background on the sharp increase in the number of political killings and the deteriorating human rights situation in the country within the political and economic crisis of the country and the world. Sayo also gave insight on the growing anti-Arroyo people’s movement in and outside the Philippines now building and broadening.

After gaining a better understanding about the urgent need for a Canada-wide task force specifically intended to help defend and promote human rights in the Philippines, May Farrales of the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines reviewed the objectives of the PCTFHR and initial ideas for a program of action.

The objectives of the PCTFHR are to:

1. Bring to the attention of Canadians the deteriorating human rights situation and to denounce the authoritarian rule and repression in the Philippines under the present Arroyo regime through local and national public education and awareness-raising activities.

2. Invite progressive Canadian groups and individuals, such as Canadian parliamentarians, media, academics, church people, trade unionists and human rights and anti-imperialist activists, to join the coalition and set up local committees to help coordinate and implement the work.

3. Implement an action plan as part of the international campaign, “Stop the Killings in the Philippines” (STKP) and carry the following main calls:
• An immediate stop to the killings and justice for the victims and their families;
• An immediate end to political persecution (with particular focus on the situation of the Batasan Six) and the upholding of democratic and human rights;
• An immediate resumption of the suspended peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

4. Organize fact-finding missions, lecture tours and other public education activities on peace, human rights and democracy in the Philippines.

5. Engage in dialogue with the Canadian government to review its current policies and relations with the Philippine government and consider suspension of all forms of its bilateral aid to the Philippines while the political killings and other violations of human rights continue to occur including the following:
• Press Canadian parliamentarians for support for the campaign.
• Press for the Philippines to be placed on the agenda for Canada’s annual human rights consultation and United Nations reports.
• Seek to testify before the Canadian joint parliamentary committees on human rights and foreign affairs.
• Seek audiences with Canadian foreign policy and other departmental advisors.

Included in the sharing of the PCTFHR’s program was a discussion on the Permanent People’s Tribunal: Second Session on the Philippines which is being convened on October 30, 2006 followed by the trial scheduled for March 2007 in The Netherlands.

The participants agreed on carrying out the following program ideas as part of the PCTFHR’s work:
• Lead and participate in the Canadian Human Rights Fact-Finding Mission to the Philippines (November 14 to 23, 2006). Help coordinate follow-up activities of the mission delegates within the framework of the coalition’s action plan.
• Support efforts of Philippine-based organizations, including the church, to educate their partners in Canada about the STKP campaign.
• Help coordinate cross-Canada activities on December 3, 2006 – the international day of solidarity with political prisoners.
• Help coordinate a cross-Canada mobilization to highlight the STKP campaign on December 10, 2006 to mark the 58th International Human Rights Day.
• Support efforts of Philippine-based and other international organizations to expose the regime’s actions through various activities such as the filing of international human rights complaints, sponsoring international gatherings and the hosting of fact-finding missions and people’s tribunals.
• Coordinate a cross-Canada tour of Congressman Satur Ocampo, one of the “Batasan 6,” in 2007 to help raise awareness about the Philippine situation to gather support for an end to political persecution, and to free Congressman Crispin Beltran.

Participants were able to deepen the discussion on the above programs in afternoon workshops which helped provide ideas to develop the work of the PCTFHR in the following areas: outreach and education in the Filipino community; lobbying; media work; fundraising and resource development; and outreach and education in the mainstream community. The rich workshop discussions helped stimulate ideas for forwarding the PCTFHR’s program including launching creative methods of outreaching and educating the Filipino community in Canada, setting up a nationally-coordinated day to lobby government bodies and politicians, liaising with all forms of media to increase Canadians’ public awareness of the issue, and outreaching to personalities and different sectors for support.

After workshop report-backs, the first meeting of the PCTFHR concluded with a synthesis of the unity and program of action of the newly-formed national task force.

To celebrate and share with the general public the successful launching of the Canada-wide task force for human rights in the Philippines, the PCTFHR paid tribute in a public ceremony to the victims of human rights violations by lighting candles, expressing their homage through song and poetry, and by publicly declaring the participants renewed commitment to heighten their solidarity with the Filipino people.

One of the immediate tasks of the PCTFHR will be to prepare for the upcoming Canadian Human Rights Fact-Finding Mission to the Philippines from November 14-23, 2006.#

For photos of the launch, please visit and go to

Monday, October 16, 2006

Where Is the Justice?

Forum on the political killings in the Philippines
Part of the University of Toronto's week-long event "Xpression Against Oppression"

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Time: 5-7 PM
Place: Bahen Centre (40 St. George St.), Room 2145
University of Toronto
Wheelchair Accessible

Did you know that certain student groups and religious organizations are being targeted in the Philippines by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's government? There have been over 750 political killings since 2001 (surpassing the human rights violations committed by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos), with at least 200 attempted killings. Torture, forced disappearances, and other human rights violations are happening in the Philippines under the Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) to quell the political movements against GMA's rule and US imperialism.

The Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter, along with the Filipino Students' Association of Toronto, is holding an information session on the current injustices happening to the Filipino people in the Philippines and on what we, in Canada, can do.

For more information, contact UKPC/FCYA-TO at (647) 273-6553 or e-mail

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Communiqué: Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggle

September 23-24, 2006. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In a historic gathering, Filipino youth in Canada have formed a national organization of Filipino youth—the first of its kind in any country outside of the Philippines. Held on September 23-24, 2006, in Toronto, the national gathering entitled “Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggle” brought together 35 youth from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to share their experiences and unite their organizations under the now national Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/ Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance.

Hosted by the Toronto chapter of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/ the Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance (UKPC/FCYA-TO), the consultation also included UKPC/FCYA-Vancouver and Kabataang Montreal. Delegates from the organizations were able to connect their local issues to a larger national context, recognizing that Filipino youth across Canada face similar challenges with racism, education, employment, gender equality and other issues. The youth also connected their struggles in Canada to the socio-economic and political crisis in the Philippines, acknowledging the roots of Filipino people’s migration to Canada.

After reading a solidarity message sent from Professor Jose Maria Sison, the participants heard from Ning Alcuitas, Vice-Chair of the National Alliance of Philipine Women in Canada. Alcuitas—a former youth organizer and founding member of UKPC/FCYA-Vancouver—spoke about the important role youth play in the Filipino community’s struggle for its rights and welfare in Canada and the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.

Providing a framework for the discussion over the 2-day gathering, Alcuitas stressed the importance for youth organizers and activists to know, study and propagate the proud revolutionary history and legacy of the youth, especially knowing and studying the history of the national democratic (ND) youth movement in the Philippines. She gave the example of the formation of Kabataang Makabayan (KM, “Militant Youth”) in 1964. Starting with a membership of 80 people, KM was able to maximize the fearlessness, creativity and strength of the youth until KM helped lead mass mobilizations of up to 100,000 during the First Quarter Storm (FQS) of 1970. Since the founding of KM in 1964 and the FQS of 1970, Filipino youth have continued to play a dynamic role in the struggle of the Filipino people for their national and social liberation. In the present context, Alcuitas described the key role youth are playing in the campaign to oust corrupt, fake and puppet President Arroyo from power. In addition, Alcuitas gave the examples of Filipino-Canadian youth who have gone on exposure trips in the Philippines for extended periods of time to integrate and learn from the basic mass sectors of Philippine society.

Alcuitas not only emphasized the responsibility that Filipino youth in Canada youth have in raising awareness of the current situation of the Philippines. She the reiterated the position and analysis of the participating organizations, that Filipino youth in Canada have two main tasks, which are 1) to take up the comprehensive task of educating, organizing and mobilizing the youth in Canada and the patriotic and progressive forces in the Filipino-Canadian community to fight for the rights and welfare; and 2) to link up with the youth in the Philippines and support and participate in the struggle of the Filipino youth and the entire Filipino people for their national and social liberation.

From Alcuitas’ presentation, she instilled a sense of importance for Filipino youth to continue the organizing work established decades ago by youth organizers in Canada. Furhtermore, she instilled a sense of leadership Filipino youth have in creating change for the future of the Filipino community.

Carlo Sayo presented an ongoing history of the Filipino-Canadian youth organizing as far back as 1984, when a group of Filipino-Canadian students first gathered to discuss their issues with the guidance of the National Coalition of Canadian Filipinos Association. Sayo stressed the significance of the organizing work among Filipino youth that has been ongoing for over 20 years in Canada, and identified three main periods of that development: from the early stages, where Filipino youth where searching for meaning and their place as youth of colour in Canada, to the deepening of the understanding of the issues they face, to the present, where Filipino youth now have a deepened and critical analysis of their issues, and are prepared to advance and confront those issues nationally.

Sayo also reminded the participants of the 2001 national Filipino youth gathering under the theme “Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas: Gumising ka, Kabataang Pilipino/ Reclaiming our Past, Shaping our Future” where the three organizing groups had previously met, along with groups from Ottawa and Winnipeg. From 2001, they identified the need for a national formation of Filipino youth in Canada, which strengthened the organizing work leading to “Pagsulong” in 2006.

From the three cities, the organizations presented their brief histories, their successes and challenges and their current work. Rodney Patricio spoke on behalf of Kabataang Montreal and shared that most of their members came from so-called “gangs” and are now community activists and organizers. For UKPC/FCYA-TO, Mithi Esguerra spoke about their involvement in ongoing anti-racism campaigns such as “Justice for Jeffrey” on the case of the 17-year old Filipino male shot three times in the back by Toronto police. Carl Cortes presented work of UKPC/FCYA-Vancouver since its formation in 1995. The three city sharings linked the common issues Filipino youth face on major cities across Canada, and provided the framework for the basis of unity of the national formation.

The evening of day one closed with solidarity night, where participants form each city shared their talents in song and poetry about the Philippines, their issues and their culture.

Day two of “Pagsulong” started with intense discussions around the basis of unity, which would define the purpose and aims of the national UKPC/FCYA. The basis of unity recognized that Filipino youth in major cities across Canada share the same challenges and barriers to development such as racism, class exploitation, gender oppression and family separation and reunification, and that their issues are related and rooted in the semi-feudal and semi-colonial system of the Philippines. They agreed that the socio-economic and political crisis in the Phiippines continue to force Filipinos abroad, and that Canada is accountable for the underdevelopment of the Filipino community, by taking advantage of the cheap labour and not recognizing the skills of educated Filipino immigrants. Recognizing the fact that organizing Filipino youth in Canada has been ongoing for two decades, the participants commited to establishing the national UKPC/FCYA to expose and oppose the issues they face. From the basis of unity, a general program of action was drafted. This is the program of educating, organizing and mobilizing that the formation will undertake over the next 3 years advance and strengthen nationally.

Once the basis of unity and program was established, a national council was then formed to have representation from all three cities. Currently sitting on the council are Rainiel DeGuzman, Carl Cortes and Carlo Sayo (Vancouver), Mithi Esguerra and Ching Esguerra (Toronto), and Rodney Patricio, Chuck Patricio and Joy Carreon (Montreal). Two seats on the council are being reserved for representatives from Ottawa and Winnepeg, recognizing that there is progressive youth initiatives rom those cities as well. Once formed, the national council then elected their executive officers. The national executive committee is comprised of: Carlo Sayo as Chair, Rodney Patricio as Vice-Chair, Mithi Esguerra as Secretary General and Carl Cortes as Deputy Secretary General.

After some brief words from the council and executives, thank yous to the volunteers, and a unifying song, the weekend came to a close. The participants came out of the conference with a deeper sense of meaning, a greater unity among their organizations and a recognition of their role and responsibilities as Filipino youth in Canada. While positive work has been happening regionally over the years, Filipino youth now have a important, united and collective voice that will empower the Filipino community towards genuine equality, development, and liberation.

Click here to view more photos.