Filipino language curriculum being developed for Alberta schools


    By Quay Evano

    The Alberta government announced the development of a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum during a meeting with Premier Rachel Notley and Filipino community leaders on Feb. 1 in Calgary.

    “The Filipino community has brought essential skills to our workforce and added so much to our social fabric,” Notley says. “Creating a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will ensure this vibrant community can continue to grow.”

    Education Minister David Eggen says adding languages to Alberta’s school curriculum can have positive spin-offs.

    “Providing learning opportunities for students in a variety of language programs helps youth maintain their heritage, strengthen their cultural identity and build language and literacy skills,” Eggen says. “Strengthening language programs based on local need and demand can be an effective tool in addressing racism. In fact, this is one of the ways we’re acting on the feedback we heard, and commitments we made, in our government’s anti-racism consultations and report.”

    Filipino community leaders lobbied for the inclusion of the Filipino language and culture in the Alberta school program.

    Last year, the Alberta government declared June Philippine Heritage Month after receiving a petition signed by Filipinos from all over the province.

    At present, there are around 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta and is considered the largest and fastest-growing community in the province.

    Filipino culture and language teacher, Dolly Castillo, says this move by the government is another historic gift by the Alberta leaders to the Filipino-Canadian community.

    “This strongly demonstrates the respect for a culture’s diversity and uniqueness through its language,” she says. “Programs like this in still pride in students and their heritage and results in active and engaged citizens.”

    The Philippine Consulate in Calgary welcomes the Alberta government’s announcement.

    “That the expansion of the teaching of the Filipino curriculum at Alberta schools would open many opportunities to generate a deeper involvement of the Filipino community and ensure that generations of young Filipinos will continue to learn and appreciate their rich culture and unique identity,” the consulate stated. “This move will be a source of pride to the Filipino community. It will inspire them to become more productive and responsible members of the Alberta community. The Philippine Consulate General in Calgary encourages the Filipino community across Alberta to actively engage the local authorities regarding the introduction next year of the K-12 Filipino curriculum within the school districts where there are large Filipino student populations.”

    Since 1996 the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation has been teaching Filipino language and culture in Calgary.

    Classes are held Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    According to the group’s website, “The PCCF, together with Alberta Education, Calgary Catholic School Board, Edmonton Catholic School Board, and Filipino Canadian Saranay Association of Edmonton and have developed a three- year curriculum that allows students to learn Filipino language and culture.

    Accredited Filipino language and courses are being offered to high school students as optional subjects. Non-accredited students are grouped according to age and knowledge of the Filipino language. Instruction time depends on the age level. An additional adult class is also provided for interested mature students.



    Filipino-Canadian Accepts NDP Nomination for Calgary-East

    Cesar Cala

    By Adrian Dayrit

    A Filipino Calgarian will be running for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming Alberta election.

    Cesar Cala, a long-time resident of Calgary has accepted the nomination from the NDP to run for Calgary-East.

    It is currently held by independent Robyn Luff who was removed from the NDP caucus in November 2018.

    Calgary-East includes the following neighbourhoods: Abbeydale, Applewood, Penbrooke Meadows, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Southview, and East Dover.

    “I want to support Calgary-East become a greater place to live, learn, raise a family, make a living and be part of a community” says Cala about his campaign focus.

    Cesar Cala moved to Calgary from the Philippines with his wife in 1996 and will be the first Filipino-Canadian to be an official candidate for MLA in Calgary and Southern Alberta.

    This nomination comes following the announcement by the provincial government to enact plans to add Filipino language and culture curriculum in K-12 schools.

    According to the provincial government “there are more than 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta” and is the “fastest growing ethno-cultural community in the province.”

    Cala co-founded several community-serving organizations.

    This is the first time he will be running for political office.

    “This decision did not come lightly nor quickly, but it was a decision that I cannot ignore,” he says. “I feel strongly that the next provincial election will set the path for our province for years, if not generations, to come. Who will win and form the next government is important but equally important is what will be the tone and the discourse of the election.”

    Cala has received several awards for his dedication to his community including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Unsung Heroes.

    “I am passionate about building welcoming and safe neighbourhoods and communities, free from racism and discrimination,” he says. “I want to see Filipino-Canadians be proud of our heritage, contributing to the province’s future and represented in the province’s civic and political leadership.”

    The election date will be set between March 1 and May 31. This will be the first election held after the Alberta NDP defeated the Progressive Conservative government in 2015.


    Fil-Can joins the Municipal race


    Filipino community leader Michael Juarez is running to be a member of Calgary Board of Education Trustee this coming local election. Siapno-Juarez, a first-generation immigrant is hoping to bring more attention to the situation of schools and students in Wards 5 and 10. According to Siapno-Juarez the continuous neglect of the residents of northeast Calgary prompted his bid for public trustee.

    “I have had enough of our children and families being neglected. I want to give parents a genuine voice on the school board. I want more funding for our schools in Ward 5 and 10. This is the only way we can ensure the future of children.” he said.

    Siapno-Juarez said he believes in quality education and its power to positively change individuals and families. But he also mentioned that apart from quality education, families should have quality of life and thus support outside school is also important.

    He added, “It is common for families in Wards 5 and 10 that both parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. We will put an end to the lack of after school support. To ensure the development of students, they should have access to different after school programs, whether be it in sports, arts and crafts and others.”

    Michael promised that he will fight for equal funding and access to resources for schools in the northeast, “The student to teacher ratio is high and teachers and support staff are struggling. It is time for the board to pay attention to our schools in the Northeast. It is time for them to pay attention to our children and educators.”

    Join us on our campaign kick off on Tuesday, September 7 for a campaign launch. Go to our website for details

    Nonoy’s Health Condition was Kept as a “Secret”


    People close to former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, said that he had kept his health condition secret to many.

    In an interview, Deedee Siytangco, former spokesperson of PNoy said that he doesn’t want the public to know his health even when he was already undergoing dialysis for a possible kidney transplant.

    Siytangco also said that PNoy already had a heart procedure and doctors were building up his body for that possible transplant before his death.

    According to the Aquino family, PNoy has been “in and out” of hospital for medical treatment even before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

    The 61-year-old PNoy, son of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and slain senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was the 15th president of the Philippines who served from 2010 to 2016

    He died on his sleep because of renal disease secondary to diabetes on Thursday morning, June 24, according to his death certificate.

    Meanwhile, U-P political science professor Aries Arugay said that the Cojuangco-Aquino political clan will continue to get voters’ support as it has become an “element” of Philippine politics.

    Professor Arugay made this statement in an interview last Sunday following the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

    The “Aquino magic” is really an element of Philippine politics and it shows that Cojuangco-Aquino is a brand name in Philippine politics that will continuously have constituency, Arugay added.

    Former President Benigno Aquino III Passed Away


      January 24 morning Manila time, former President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III passed away. Known as PNoy was the 15th president of the Philippines was the predecessor of Rodrigo Duterte. He was the son of martyr Ninoy Aquino and the first woman president Corazon Aquino.

      UNICEF and WHO pushes for safe re-opening of schools

      WHO Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai

      Joining the chorus of calls for the resumption of in-person learning even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues…
      Regional directors of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are pushing for the safe re-opening of schools.

      WHO Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai and UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific Karin Hulshof urged countries to use what is known about COVID-19 to work towards the safe schools’ re-opening.

      In a joint opinion piece recently published by Project Syndicate, Kasai and Hulshof both said that with the COVID-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely re-opening schools has now become an urgent priority.

      Primary schools, pre-schools and early childhood development centers are not “high-risk settings” for COVID-19 transmission, especially if safety measures are followed, noting that “children account for a very small proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases”, Kasai and Hulshof said.

      They also said that children of primary-school age and younger are among the least likely cohorts to be infected and even when they do contract COVID-19, they tend to have milder symptoms than adults.

      The two officials stressed that school re-opening is not dependent on COVID-19 vaccines. However, both officials cautioned on the re-opening of secondary schools, which they said are accounted for a higher number of outbreaks than primary schools.

      Kasai and Hulshof emphasized that there is no such thing as zero risk against the disease, but the risks are manageable with robust mitigation strategies.

      Partial closures can be an option for secondary schools “but only as a last resort and for limited periods where community transmission is surging,” they said.

      The two officials also urged policymakers to consider “local context” in resuming in-person classes, which include factors such as community transmission and a locality’s capacity to respond to an increase in infections caused by COVID-19.

      Duterte should cooperate – CHR


      An official from the Commission on Human Rights(CHR) hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will cooperate if ever a full investigation into drug war killings in the Philippines will push through.

      Human Rights Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana says that the cooperation will benefit both President Duterte and his administration.

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) will be a proper forum to prove that the government’s war on drugs is not a crime against humanity, Commissioner Gana stressed.

      President Duterte should not worry if ever the probe push through because they will be given a fair trial by the ICC, the Human Rights Commissioner said.

      Last Monday, the prosecutor of the ICC asked for authorization to open a full investigation into drug war killings in the Philippines.

      In a statement, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that crimes against humanity could have been committed in President Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Bensouda said that the preliminary examination into the situation in the Philippines has concluded and that she requested a judicial authorization to proceed with a formal criminal investigation.

      Last December, Bensouda emphasized that there were reasonable grounds to believe crimes against humanity had been committed during President Duterte’s bloody anti-illegal drugs crackdown.

      Based on Philippine government’s data, authorities killed more that six thousand drug dealers in sting operations, from the time President Duterte took office in 2016 until the end of April this year.

      Different rights groups insists authorities have summarily executed drug suspects, but the Philippine National Police stressed that their operation became bloody because drug dealers fought back violently.

      Human rights groups also accused President Duterte of inciting deadly violence and said police have murdered unarmed suspects and staged crime scenes on a massive scale.

      62-year old Grandma Graduates High School


      Josephine Amante Villatema, a 62-year-old woman achieved a feat many children failed to reach. Lola Josephine graduated from high school through the Alternative Learning System or ALS Program of Timoteo Policarpio Memorial School.

      The 62-year-old Lola has proven that age is not a reason to stop reaching for one person’s dream. Lola Josephine said that she strived to finish high school so she could achieve her dream of taking culinary arts at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

      ALS is an alternative program for those who have no means to access formal education in schools. It has two major programs, the Basic Literacy Program and the Continuing Education Program – Accreditation and Equivalency, which are both modular and flexible, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

      DepEd said that they are targeting more or less four million kids, teens and out of school youth to be part of the programs under ALS. Not yet included in these numbers are older people like Lola Josephine who wants to continue studying despite her age, DepEd said.

      With government’s support, the Education Department is confident that they will be able to meet their target of educating those unfortunate people through ALS.

      Canada Donating 100 million Vaccines

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirms that Canada will be sharing 100 million COVID-19 vaccines with the world. Trudeau made the announcement in a press conference at the end of the G7 leader’s summit in England on Sunday.

      Trudeau said Canada will provide funding to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, to help 87 million doses be provided to developing countries.

      In addition, the country is donating 13 million doses procured by Canada to other countries through the global vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX, Trudeau said. Of those shots, the Canadian Prime Minister said that 1.3 million doses will be Johnson&Johnson vaccines, while another 4.1 will be the vaccines manufactured by Oxford-AstraZeneca.

      All will be bought via COVAX and the remaining 7.3 million doses will be Novavax shots, according to the Canadian prime minister. He said that the G7 leaders’ collective commitments will result in over 2 billion doses being shared with the rest of the world.

      Trudeau’s announcement came just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom will share 100 million COVID-19 vaccines. Canada to date, has spent $2.5 billion to help address this crisis globally, PM Trudeau confirms.

      Earlier, France, Japan, Germany and Italy have also promised to share millions of doses to COVAX, an international vaccine sharing initiative.

      Hungry Syrian is now a Filipino

      A well-off Syrian vlogger chose to become a Filipino and live in the Philippines for good.

      Syrian vlogger Basel Manadil a.k.a. “The Hungry Syrian Wanderer” is now officialy a Filipino citizen after years of giving his viewers a taste of the food and beauty of the Philippines.

      Basel happily announced his being a Filipino in a vlog he posted on Independence Day, June 12.

      In that vlog, Basel who wears a traditional barong tagalog, proudly showed his Philippine passport for the first time since he got it in 2019.

      Basel narrated in his vlog how he came from a well-off family from Syria and traveled to the Philippines when he was only 18-years old, after the war started in their country.

      He also revealed that he decided to stay in the Philippines despite being offered a chance to live a more comfortable life in Europe.

      The naturalized Filipino said that after graduation, he tried to apply for a job in many companies and I got denied.

      Basel said also that when he was offered to go to Europe, he deeply thought of the luxury life, instant money, instant happiness and instant job compared to the Philippines with simple life, no expected money, no expected job and just living in a day to day basis.

      He said he chose the Philippines after experiencing life there and spending time with ordinary Filipinos.

      Basel added that he found in the Philippines the real meaning of ‘The Hungry Syrian Wanderer’, which is to wander more, help more people and explore more things about this country that he now consider his new home.



      Philippines’ figure-skater Michael Martinez is focused on his Winter Olympics return. The two-time Olympic figure-skater said that he is training even harder now than when he did to prepare for the past two Winter Olympics qualifying events.

      Martinez said he has been training intensely for the past three months and his coach Nikolai Morozov, was pushing him so much everyday, with the new programs and new choreography.

      He admits that those trainings are really different and so intense, but the hardest part about making it to the Olympics is looking for funds.

      Martinez said that his manager has set up a fund page with a goal to raise at least $50,000 so he can make it to the qualifying events in Germany.

      Our main goal is to be able to have the enough training funds for up to at least the qualifying event and we’re just hoping that when we do qualify we will have some sponsors coming in and be able to have the enough support all the way to the Olympics, Martinez said.

      With an Olympic medal in mind, Martinez flew to Russia on Tuesday to take his training to the next level and his goal is to master the quadruple jump for his winning routine.

      According to Martinez, the sheer technical value of quads is probably the only way he could compete and possibly land a podium finish.

      No Southeast Asian athlete has ever won a Winter Olympic medal and Martinez aims to be the first, that’s why his team is doing everything they can to achieve that monumental goal.

      Vaccinated individuals show milder symptoms. – CDC report


        A new study of the U-S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus have milder COVID-19 illness than un-vaccinated people, if they become infected.

        CDC said the study, which looked at more than 3,900 essential workers, shows fully vaccinated people are more than 90% protected against infection.

        Even partially vaccinated people are 81% less likely to become infected than people who have not been inoculated, according to the ongoing study.

        The CDC said in a statement that the result of the study adds to the growing body of real-world evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines.

        While the U-S sees COVID-19 vaccination rates growing among some populations, experts warn that lags among groups including adolescents could hurt a further return to normalcy.

        Medical experts have warned that as more adults get vaccinated, the virus will continue to plague children who have not or cannot get inoculated yet.

        In an interview by CNN, epidemiologist Dr. Abdul El-Sayed emphasized that more and more seniors, people with pre-existing conditions and people who may be healthy and younger were vaccinated.

        Children are still considered much less likely than adults to develop severe symptoms of COVID-19 or to die from the disease.

        Nevertheless, nearly a third of children ages 12 to 17 who were likely hospitalized primarily for COVID-19 in the first three months of 2021 were admitted to intensive care units and roughly 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation, according to a study by the U-S CDC that examined more than 200 adolescents. None died, the report added.

        Calgary Weather

        few clouds
        6.5 ° C
        8.9 °
        1.8 °
        20 °
        19 °
        19 °
        19 °
        15 °

        Philippine Exchange