Month: March 2016

First woman to be elected seeks third term

FLOR MARCELINO, NDP LOGAN An immigrant’s journey to politics By Ted Alcuitas It was a bizarre twist that first catapulted Flor Marcelino to the political stage in 2007 for the NDP, making political history as the first woman of colour to be elected to a provincial legislature. Today, after two successive terms, she is seeking another term in a political climate vastly different from 2007. His brother-in-law, Ted Marcelino, is seeking a second term in the Tyndall riding. The then relatively unknown Marcelino was ‘minding her own business’ and in semi-retirement on a fateful afternoon in May when three NDP representatives unexpectedly showed up. “Then they asked me if I wanted to be the NDP candidate. They told me that they would help me secure a $20,000 loan for campaign expenses and provide me with an experienced campaign manager. I asked for some time to think it over but they gave me only one hour to decide,” she recalled the day in a Toronto speech in 2011. The New Democrats were in a tight spot. Days before the election, their candidate, Filipino Angie Ramos suddenly resigned citing health reasons. Before the election call, incumbent New Democrat MLA Conrad Santos, dropped out due to allegations of illegal membership sign-up. Days before, another candidate Joe Chan, was disqualified for improper disclosure in his nomination papers. Both run as independents. Jose Tomas, another...

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Second gen hopes to be first PC MLA

Manitoba elections  Progressive Conservative Party Jon Reyes St. Norbert The youngest and the only second generation candidate is Jon Reyes who is running in St. Norbert for the Progressive Conservative Party. This is the first political foray for the former Canadian Forces veteran and owner of a UPS store. The tech-savvy father of two has a long history of community involvement as a board member of the Kidney Foundation’s Manitoba branch and is founder and past-president  of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council. A graduate of Sisler High School, Reyes is an  avid sports enthusiast who  officiates university football and CFL games in his spare time. “Jon adds strong leadership with his wealth of business and volunteer experience,” Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister says of Reyes. “I look forward to working with him as we strive to bring a change for the better to St. Norbert, and to all...

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Ted Marcelino seeks second term

Manitoba elections Tenacious Ted fights second term By Ted Alcuitas “I am not taking it for granted. Kelangan kayud ng kayud,” says Ted Marcelino as he faces another battle to retain his Tyndall Park seat for the NDP on April 19. He is seeking a second term in a riding with a large number of Filipino voters (42%) and being opposed by a kababayan, Aida Champagne for the Liberals. In his first campaign in 2011, he faced two Filipinos – Roldan Sevillano for the Liberals and Cris Aglugub for the Conservatives. He beat the two soundly with 45% of the votes. Roldan had 35% and Aglugub, a former NDP-turned PC MLA, had 16%. “It’s my way of giving back to the community,” he says of his desire to be in public office. “Even before I went into politics, I was already advocating for our kababayans. It was public service without public office.” The former Philippine policeman and lawyer relishes in recalling about his passing the bar exam even if he was considered a ‘non-graduate’ from the University of the Philippines’ School of Law. “There was some sort of misunderstanding among the professors but I was able to argue my case and they allowed me to proceed with the bar exams.” This tenacity in pursuing his dream to become a lawyer served him well in his quest to seek public...

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Four Filipinos seek seats on April 19

Candidates in the Manitoba provincial election By Ted Alcuitas Political battles in Manitoba are won or lost in Winnipeg where the majority of Manitoba’s Filipino community resides. Province-wide, Filipinos comprise the largest ethnic population. The vote-rich city is therefore coveted by all political parties as they go into elections. In this continuing series focusing on Winnipeg, we feature the four Filipino candidates who hopes to follow the path started by the late Conrad Santos (who died just last February 29, 2016), the first to win office in Canada as an NDP MLA in 1981. Two of them – the Marcelinos, are reelectionists while Champagne and Reyes are first timers. We begin with Aida Champagne who is running for the Liberals. Aida Champagne Liberal Tyndall Champagne is running for the Liberals in the Filipino-vote rich Tyndall riding. The first-timer will try to unseat fellow kababayan – incumbent NDP MLA Ted Marcelino who is running for reelection. Champagne was born in the Philippines and migrated to Canada in 1980 under the Garment Workers Program. She is on leave from New Flyer Industries where she works in in Logistic Department. According to her website, she has dedicated 34 years of her life in Canada volunteering and being an active leader and a strong voice for the community. She is the chairperson of the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, a highly successful annual festival...

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Filipinos nail themselves to crosses on Good Friday

Gory ritual survives In one of the most enduring rituals during Lent, the re-enactment of Christ’s death on the Cross on Good Friday has persisted to this day despite being frowned upon by church leaders – drawing crowds of tourists and locals to the gory spectacle. The annual ritual happens in San Pedro Cutud village, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Manila although similar rituals on a smaller scale happens in a couple of other places in the country. This year’s Good Friday ritual saw Ruben Enaje, nailed to the cross for the 30th time. He dedicates this year’s suffering “to peace in Belgium and other countries targeted countries by Islamic extremists”, according to a report by The Associated Press. Enaje, a 55-year-old sign painter, began the annual ordeal after he fell from a three-storey building in 1985 and survived nearly unscathed. The gory spectacle reflects the Philippines’ unique brand of Catholicism, which merges church traditions with folk superstitions. Many of the mostly impoverished penitents undergo the ritual to atone for sins, pray for the sick or for a better life, and to give thanks for what they believe were God-given miracles. After 30 years, Enaje said he has thought of ending his involvement in the crucifixions in the next few years, although he remains physically fit to endure the experience, which has deepened his faith. The intensity...

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