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.


    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.

        Filipina Wins US Women’s Open Golf Championship 


        19-year-old Yuka Saso made history by becoming the first Filipino player to win the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, USA.

        Saso bounced back from two early double bogeys and held off Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden death playoff to win the 76th U-S Women’s Open, the oldest golf tournament.

        At 19 years, 11 months and 17 days, Saso tied South Korea’s Park Imbee to the day as the youngest champion at the women’s game’s oldest major.

        Meanwhile, the Skateboarding Association of the Philippines (SAP), announced that our very own Filipino skater Margielyn Didal has earned a slot to the Tokyo Olympics.

        SAP, the sport’s national governing body, announced the good news ahead of the finals of the Street World Championships 2021 in Rome on Sunday, when those who qualified for the Japan Games are to be confirmed.

        Didal despite placing 17th at the end of the semifinals in Rome, still qualified because of her world ranking at No. 13; the top 16 in her event earn Olympic berths.

        According to World Skate, the sport’s world governing body, Olympic slots also go to those who finish in the top 3 at the Street Worlds and one for host Japan.
        Didal’s placement will make her the 10th Filipino to compete in the quadrennial games, where skateboarding is making its debut this year.

        Filipino athletes who earlier qualified for the Olympics are weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, taekwondo Jin Kurt Barbosa, and rower Cris Nievarez.

        The 22-year-old Cebuana skater won gold in the women’s street events in the Asian Games in 2018 and in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

        The Tokyo Olympics is set to push through in July following postponement last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The official announcement of qualified skaters will only be released after the World Championships Finals in Rome, but Skate Pilipinas would like to be the first to announce that Didal has earned a slot for the Tokyo Olympics.

        This upcoming international multi-sport event is scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

        Philippines will Re-open When


        Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez is confident that the Philippines can fully re-open its economy after vaccinating 50% of its 110 million population.

        In an interview, Secretary Galvez cited the records from other countries like Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States where COVID-19 cases decreased following the vaccination of 30% of its population.

        The vaccine czar said that the decrease in Covid-19 cases has prompted the lifting of quarantine restrictions in those countries.

        Secretary Galvez says that we can see the threshold that once we inoculate 30% of our population, we can open up some restrictions and then we can open up fully our economy if we inoculate 50% of our population.

        He is also confident the government can achieve its target of vaccinating 70% of the country’s population by end of 2021.

        Last Monday, the Department of Health (DoH) reported that more than 1.2 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of May 30.

        It is barely three months after the government started its vaccination roll-out.

        DoH also reported that a total of 5,180,721 doses have been administered nationwide.

        Both Secretary Galvez and the DoH believes that the phase of the vaccine roll-out will become faster the moment the bulk of vaccines arrives in the country.

        The government also assured the public that all of the vaccines will be used and nothing will be put to waste.

        Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DoT) announced that people in the so-called NCR Plus may now visit modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas for tourism purposes.

        Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat says that finally the IATF, DoH and health experts approved that people from NCR Plus can already travel to various tourist destinations.

        But the DOT chief is quick to clarify that the local government units (LGUs) still have the final word if they would allow tourism in their areas.

        The NCR Plus consists of Metro Manila and adjacent provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

        Calgary Weather

        few clouds
        15 ° C
        16 °
        13.9 °
        23 °
        25 °
        26 °
        29 °
        31 °

        Philippine Exchange