Month: January 2016

Man who trafficked caregiver gets reprieve

Franco Yiu Kwan Orr is shown outside B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, BC. May 30, 2013. Photograph by: Nick Procaylo , PNG Vancouver Franco Orr dismisses lawyer, gets reprieve By Ted Alcuitas The man who was convicted in a landmark case in 2013 for trafficking a caregiver from Hong Kong to Vancouver won another reprieve when he was granted another date for his sentencing to Feb. 24. The postponement came after Orr and his lawyer had an ‘impasse’ over details of the ‘agreed upon statement’ that was supposed to be submitted to the court on January 27. The lawyer also told court he would no longer be representing Mr. Orr. Terry LaLiberte, his second defense counsel since being charged in 2013, told court his client might revoke his guilty plea after he consults his new counsel. In addition to the human trafficking offence, Orr was convicted on two other lesser charges under the act, including employing a foreign national without authorization. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Orr’s wife, Nicole Huen, was acquitted of the charges. On appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal, Orr won another trial but instead, opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of employing a foreign national without authorization. The penalty for the offence is a fine of up to $50,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or...

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OFW remittances continue despite oil slump

President Benigno Aquino 111 greets departing overseas workers at airport. Canada ranks eight in OFW remittances Almost half of global remittances come from the USA, which contributes $10.37 billion. Saudi Arabia significantly lags behind, with remittances of $2.52 billion. Despite slower growth last year, remittances from overseas Filipinos have so far not been affected by the slump in oil prices, the Philippine Star reported, citing the chief economist of the Department of Finance. “So far, the steep drop in crude petroleum prices has not affected Middle East remittances,” Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said in an economic bulletin dated Jan. 19. According to central bank data quoted by Beltran, remittances grew 3.63 percent to $22.83 billion from January to November last year. The growth was slower than the revised 2015 goal of four percent. Broken down, money from the Middle East– the second major source of remittances– expanded by a faster 9.6 percent to $5.243 billion during the same period. Global oil prices have continued their decline into 2016, plunging to new lows not seen in more than 13 years and hitting company profit margins. This, in turn, has caused anxiety that jobs in the oil sector may be slashed, including those held by the more than two million Filipinos, according to Department of Foreign Affairs figures. According to a Rappler report, OFWs also make an invaluable contribution to the country’s...

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Patrick Cruz wins $25,000 RBC Canadian Painting Competition

  Patrick Cruz and his winning entry ‘Time Allergy’. Artist Patrick Cruz looks to his roots by Ted Alcuitas “My experience migrating from the Philippines to Canada informs my studio practice, prompting me to question notions of diaspora, displacement and the adoption of a new cultural identity,” Cruz notes in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition catalogue. “Through my conflicting colour palette, garish application of paint, repetitive mark making and maximalist compositions, my work aspires to mimic the destabilizing force of modernity to reveal its symptoms and effects.” In an email to Philippine Canadian News.com, Cruz talks about his journey into art. “I began my artistic venture when I was 17 when I met the artist Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz, they were both teaching a summer art course in preparation for the talent test in UP Diliman’s College of Fine Arts. I applied to the College of Fine Arts in 2004 and upon my acceptance I began my training in drawing, painting and sculpture. Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz invited me to see a performance by an artist named Sam Penaso, luckily his eerie exhibition coincided with the late Santiago Bose. Bose had a retrospective in CCP at the time and since then has left an imprint in my memory. I was blown away by his diverse material sensibility, humour, wit and political rigour. His move haunts him The...

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Aquino gifts Trudeau with designer glass globe

Cobonpue work gifted to Trudeau By Ted Alcuitas The designer with his ‘Yoda’ chairs used during the APEC Summit.   A piece by internationally acclaimed designer Kenneth Cobonpue was President Benigno Aquino 111’s choice as a gift to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the lat APEC Summit in Manila. A Glass Globe by the Cebuano designer is one among five other gifts worth more than $200 which Trudeau has to declare. Of the five ‘coolest things’ Trudeau received, two came from Aquino – the glass globe plus a basket with liqueurs,dark rum (probably Tandauy), vodka and chocolate. The 47-year old Cobonpue is a Filipino industrial designer known for his unique designs integrating natural materials through innovative handmade production processes. An online auction of his six Yoda chairs to benefit Unicef’s children’s programs brought in a total of P8.76 million in just two hours last Dec. 16. The chairs were briefly used by world leaders including US President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and President Benigno S.C. Aquino III at the Apec 2015 welcome dinner reception held at the Mall of Asia Arena. Highest bid The highest bid, amounting to P2,050,000, went to the chair used by Trudeau, who was labeled—along with Peña Nieto and Obama—as “Apec hottie.” Born into the world...

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Filipina poet reads on Maguindanao Massacre

  23 November by Romulo Galicano – ” I decided to paint what is appropriate for that particular subject. I am not compelled to represent the actual horror of the massacre victims as they are being mowed down. I simplified the process by focusing on the anonymity of their killer, who raises a dirty finger to the audience to symbolize his contempt for human life.” “In Mo[u]rning: Poetics of the Maguindanao Massacre” By Ted Alcuitas Filipina poet Karla Lenina Comanda, who is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, will do a reading of her poem ‘In Mo[u]rning: Poetics of the Maguindanao Massacre’ on the infamous Maguindanao Massacre. The reading will be at UBC’s St John’s College on Tuesday, January 12 at 8pm. “Considered to be the worst case of election-related violence in Philippine history, the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre resulted in the deaths of 58 people, with many of the victims being journalists, lawyers, and women. In this talk, I will read plunderverse poems about the massacre’s victims from an in-progress collection. Using President Gloria Arroyo’s declaration of Martial Law in the region as the source text, my poems humanize those who died from the slaughter, capturing their thoughts as they prepare to depart and (unknowingly) meet their fates.” Comanda has been featured in LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival. Her works have appeared in...

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