Oh yeah ! The year 2016 has come and go. It's time of the year again to review and reflect  on the top news and events in a given month that have significant impact on Filipino Canadians in Ontario especially in the Greater Toronto Area. Arguably but reasonably chosen, here's what I considered as the big 50 news stories over the 12-month period, summarized in compendious, chronological order as follows:

January : Effective Jan.1, based in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the maximum Canada Pension Plan ( CPP) retirement benefit , for recipients age 65 will be $1,092.50 per month  an increase of 1.2 percent or $330. The basic Old Age Security (OAS) pension  will increase by 0.1 percent from $ 569.95 to $ 570.52 per month . Basketball Olympian Caloy " the Big Difference" Loyzaga passed away on Jan. 27.

February : On Feb.10, the Philippine National Mapping and Resource Information Authority announced it may have discovered 400 more islands in Mindanao bringing to 7,500 islands, from 7,101 in 1945. (To be considered an island, a "landmass should be above sea level and high tide at any given time and can support either plant or animal life, or both" ). Marshall McLuhan Institute Fellowship 2015 awardee Joseph Morong , a GMA reporter, was feted by Balita & fellow journalists in Toronto on Feb. 24. Conrad Santos, PhD, the first Filipino Canadian elected to a provincial legislature in 1981 as a Member of Legislative Assembly( MLA) in Manitoba died on Feb. 29.Type your paragraph here.

March: The Liberal Government of P.M. Justin Trudeau announced on Mar. 8 that Canada will welcome between 280,000 and 305,00 new permanent residents in 2017 with emphasis on family reunification. The Ontario Liberal Government will grant free tuition starting SY 2017-2018 to more than 150,000 eligible, low -and-middle income students whose parents earn $83,000 or less. Former Senator & Senate President Jovito Salonga died on Mar. 10. Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, passed away on Mar.22. Filipino Canadian academics & writers in March participated at  the National Metropolis Conference, the largest yearly gathering of immigration researchers, policy- makers and community advocates in Canada.

Top 50 News Stories in 2016 in the Filipino Canadian Community

By: Tony A. San Juan, OCT


                                                                                         By: cielitodrapeza                                                                                               

She is... He is... 

While waiting for court to resume, recently,  a Canadian-looking counsel asked me, "Tell me, Madam Interpreter, why do Filipinos mix up the use of he/she,  his/her?  Even my friend who is a Filipino lawyer does that."  While I tried to explain that when we refer to anyone, we do not use gender-specific pronouns and just use the generic "sya", I am convinced that while I may not know all the grammar rules,  we can,  together,  review the basic ones which I sometimes find to be taken for granted.

THIS I BELIEVE - Every teacher is a Language teacher,  regardless of one's field of specialization.  While it is true that the main point is that the message is conveyed, as educators, we have to at least try to reflect whether our language is the best that we can come up with,  and that there are no glaring mistakes!   

To start off, I know it will be difficult to teach pronunciation in a non-audio format, but please allow me to remind us all to show distinction between "p" and "f".  In one court assignment one day, while the Judge was smart enough to understand things through context, it bothered me a lot to hear the complainant say "I finished that" and how I wished she could puff out a little air from her lungs to give justice to the "f" sound.  What is worse is,  the sound of "sh" was also inaudible making it sound like you know what! 

I propose we go over the sentences that follow and see what is wrong with each:

I did not talked to him. 
Arielle don't have anything to say. 
The artists performed for one and a half hour. 
One of the book is missing. 
Maverick love his dad. 
My brother has a young puppy,  a practicing  Catholic. 
The roses in my garden are amazing. 

·         Never,  ever use the past tense verb form with the verb "did". The verbs did, do, does,  should, and the like,  are always followed by the simple verb. Hence,  "Does she knows I love her?" is a big blunder!  "Does she KNOW I love her? " is the proper one. Corrected: I did not talk to him.

·         Do is used for plural subjects; does for singular. Corrected: Arielle doesn't have anything to say. 

·         Corrected : Congratulations (with s) 

·         Anything more than one is plural. Corrected: The artists performed for one and half hours. 

·         The descriptive phrase "one of the" should always be followed by a plural noun because it can never be one of one. In Filipino, we say,  "isa sa mga".  Corrected: One of the books is missing. 

·         Singular subjects use singular verbs - ones ending with -s,  and vice versa. Corrected: Maverick loves his dad.  (A good way to practice this is to use people's jobs.  Examples below) : 
A fireman puts out destructive fires. 
Firemen put out destructive fires. 
A doctor diagnoses people's diseases. 
Doctors diagnose people's diseases. 

·         Appositives and descriptive phrases should,  as much as possible,  follow the noun or pronoun it describes. Corrected: My brother, a practicing Catholic, has a young puppy. 

·         (There is nothing grammatically wrong with the last sentence).

This is very far from being an exhaustive list. There are other more complex things involved in communication,  such as facial expressions,  tone,  and others.  THIS I further BELIEVE - words are powerful, and that, be it spoken or written, our messages should use the most appropriate and correct words.  I wish to add, I can honestly say that I also say "ahhh" when I speak, but the “ahhs” in Prime Minister Trudeau's speech are so many that they personally annoy me.  While I say this,  others say it is a manifestation that he is thinking-reflecting.  We may be divided on this aspect, but we shouldn't be divided on the use of proper grammar, because with anything borrowed,  such as the English language being our second or third language, shouldn't we be careful with its use?  


 T H I S


April : Three Filipino Canadians, Flor Marcelino( NDP), her brother Ted Marcelino ( NDP) and Jon Reyes( PC) won as Members of Legislative Assembly ( MLA) in the Manitoba elections on April 19, the highest number of Filipino provincial legislators in Canadian political history. Popular livestream WWW. Pinoy Radio.com has expanded its programming with exciting hourly- produced segments of news and informative, talk shows.

May : The Canadian Multicultural Council- Asians in Ontario honoured Dr. Francis Rementilla the "2016 Outstanding Asian-Canadian" award and  Cristina Carpio, as CMC-AO " Poster Hero" on May 1.  FilCan -operated Castle Village Enchanted Kingdom, a family-friendly entertainment park was launched in Midland, Ontario on May 7. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte was elected 16th President of the Philippines and Bikolana lawyer & congresswoman Leni Robredo elected Vice President on May 9. The Filipino Canadian Parents Association in Catholic Education ( FCPACE) conducted its 2nd annual conference of Catholic parents & teachers on enhanced parent engagement and involvement on May 14 at the Catholic Education Centre. Rosalinda Tijam, on May 14 was reelected president of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario ( PPCO). More than 250 students from TCDSB's 7 high schools attended the York University - Centre for Asian Research lectures on "Filipino Voices in the Arts and Academia." TCDSB's Annual Proudly Pinoy Day - Asian Heritage Week was held on May 28 at St. Maria Goretti Catholic School. The Philippine Teachers Association of Canada
( PTAC), on May 28th, celebrated its 10th year anniversary as the only samahan ng mga gurong Filipino sa Ontario.

June : The prestigious Miss Manila 2016 Pageant was held on June 4. Heavyweight boxer Muhammad "the Greatest" Ali died on June 10. The Filipino Centre Toronto held the Pista Sa Toronto on June 12-13. The Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation Pinoy Fiesta & Trade Show was conducted at MTCC on June 18. 

July : Former Senator & educator Helena Benitez died on July 14. The Philippine Independence Day Council  Mabuhay Cup Invitational Tournament was conducted on July 23. So do with other big community-based  basketball leagues The Kalayaan Centre held its Fiesta Ng Kalayaan on July 30-31 in Mississauga. 

August : The Philippine Cultural Community Centre's Taste of Manila Street Festival III on Aug. 20-21 at the Bathurst St.- Wilson Ave. Area, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne . Filipino actor Xian Lim and more than 300,000 people in attendance.

September :  His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and the 7th Filipino Cardinal, celebrated masses in the GTA on Sept. 2 & 4. The PIDC Mabuhay Festival, Fashion Show & Parade on Sept. 3-4 at Nathan Phillips Square, with 2013  Ms. International Bea Rose Santiago and Mayor John Tory. On Sept. 10, the Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe of Canada commemorated its 50 years of existence. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Set. 12, that the provincial portion of the 8% HST will no longer be charged on Hydro bills.

October: Ontario's minimum hourly wage rose from $11.25  to $ 11.40 on Oct. 1.  The Vatican on Oct. 25 issued new guidelines for Catholics on cremation that their remains( ashes) cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but stored in sacred, church-approved place. Nicole Cordoves placed first runner up in the Miss Grand International on Oct. 26.  Kylie Verzosa,on Oct. 27, was crowned 2016 Miss International , the 6th Miss Philippines to win the title. Philippine Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Pinol and 2 other Duterte administration cabinet officials attended a Toronto town hall meeting with FilCans on Oct. 29.

November : Three FilCan publishers - journalists, Hermie Garcia, Bin Kon Loo & Delano V. Europa garnered recognition awards by the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada on Nov. 4. American billionaire Donald Trump was elected U.S. President on Nov. 8. On Nov. 17, the Express Entry System was reduced for those with Labour Market Impact Assessment ( LMIA) to only 200 points, from 600 points, for those with LMIA -based job offers if the offer is in NOC skill level 0 ( managerial position) and 150 points, if in NOC skill levels A & B. Also, by Fall 2017, the age of Dependents will be increased to below 22 years old. Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was buried on November 18 at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani( LNMB). The Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto ( PCCT) marked its 25th year milestone on Nov. 19. The 6th Anghel Ng Tahanan Canada 2016 pageant was held on Nov. 20. The peso closed on Nov. 21 at almost Php 50.00 to US$ 1.00. Gigi Grande of ABS-CBN, the 2016 Marshall McLuhan Fellowship awardee was honoured by the Philippine Press Club -Ontario on Nov. 29.

December: Immigration Minister John McCallum, on Dec. 7, vowed to cut processing times for spousal applications from the average of 26 months to within 12-18 months and with an expanded annual quota for 2017. Starting in 2017, Ottawa announced that migrants sponsored by their Canadian spouses won't be required to stay in a relationship for 2 years  in order to keep their permanent resident status in the country.On Dec. 10, Atty. Angely M. Pacis, a FilCan lawyer won the nomination as the Conservative MPP candidate in Mississauga Centre. Atty. Antonio M. Villarin announced his candidacy for MPP Nomination in Scarborough Centre. Under the new Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, overseas Filipinos who stayed less than 5 years abroad enjoy Php 150,000 tax-exempt value of items in a balikbayan box , 5 - 9 years at Php 250,000 and with at least 10 years, not exceeding Php 350,000. The Miss Universe 2016 pageant will be held in Manila on January 30, 2017. The "4-in, 4-out years" provision for temporary workers will end, with pathways to permanent residency.Beginning Jan.3, 2017, parents/ grandparents sponsorship via a 10,000 lottery process, will be available . Lucky sponsors have 30 days to submit formal applications. Have a great, blessed, and bountiful 20017 throughout! 

Filipino Canadian  Teachers Group Slates

                              11th Annual Teachers Conference

Summer is almost over and the autumn breeze is moving in the horizon. Back to school jitters have passed and school work is again in the agenda of students, parents and teachers . In this light, the 
Philippine Teachers Association of Canada ( PTAC) is holding anew the 11th Annual Teachers Conference on October 14, 2017, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Barbara Frum-Toronto Public Library.

The 2017 conference will have for its theme :
 "Mpowerment through Educational Collaboration". It aims, specifically, for participants  to gain insights and information about concepts, strategies and best practices on matters of professional collaboration in teaching & learning in the  school classrooms & beyond. Also, the yearly event " endeavours to be of help to a variety of audience, ranging from new immigrants, with or without full teacher-education background but wanting to explore opportunities in the teaching profession, to those seeking teaching certification in Ontario, as well as other certified teachers who are desirous of seeking occasional/supply positions or permanent assignments." 

Invited to the gathering as speakers and presenters are leading educational professionals, teachers and educators , among which  are : Dr. Phillip Kelly ,York University professor &  head of the Asian Research and Studies and Ms. Luz Del Rosario, Trustee of the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board. Additionally, experienced Filipino Canadian teachers  from different school boards will sit in a panel discussion. New  PTAC members will also share how the Association has helped them in their journey towards reconnecting to the teaching profession and career-related jobs. 

Organized in 2006, the Philippine Teachers Association of Canada is a  registered non-profit, volunteer run socio-professional organization in Ontario. It is composed of Filipino Canadians who are former educators in the Philippines and are certified-and- practicing teachers in Catholic, public and private educational institutions in the province. The Association  provides free professional services, seminars and assistance to registered members and other interested individuals in such areas as: pre-teacher certification assessment guidance; teacher resume & cover-letter writing; professional networking & referrals; teacher- interview clinic & preparation; and career planning & career alternative strategies. PTAC has continuing partnerships and linkages with professional, social and community-based organizations.

Teachers, former teachers  and other education- related professionals  are cordially invited to the free whole day event. Complimentary meals and snacks will be served. For further information, interested parties are requested to contact: Maricon Bernasor at mbernasor@yahoo.com,  Perly Laganas at perly.laganas@gmail.com, or Cielito Drapeza at cielitodrapeza@gmail.com not later than October 3, 2017.  ( Tony A. San Juan)