Toronto launches Coalition for Leni-Kiko

Toronto, Ontario

Coalition for Leni-Kiko  Run Officially Launched at Pink Caravan

Representatives from more than twenty  community groups quite literally tied the knot to symbolize unity and the formation of Kabayan Canada last December 5 in Mississauga, Ontario. Holding posters expressing their concerns —the points of unity—these individuals strung the posters together to form a collage.

Called Kabayan, the coalition aims to actively campaign for the candidacy of Leni Robredo for President, Senator Francis Pangilinan for Vice-President, as well as that of senatorial candidates on the slate of  1Sambayan.

The Kabayan launch was the culminating activity of the Toronto West Pink Caravan. Pink is associated with the movement for a change in the governance of the Philippines of which VP Robredo is the known advocate.

Kabayan initiator and chairman Earl Francis Oriño Dacara says he is inspired by the kind of leadership  that Leni Robredo embodies. “Choosing the right leader for the Philippines should be based on competence, integrity, and compassion. No one among the presidential candidates has these combined qualities other than Leni,” said the legal practitioner and former student leader during an interview with OMNI News after the program.

Slogans at the caravan express the concerns or dreams of the estimated 300 caravan participants: “No to another dictatorship!”; “Push for Just and Lasting Peace”; “Defend Philippine Sovereignty”; “End Human Rights Violations”; “Stand for Democracy”.

The hour-long program at the Mississauga Valley Community Center  was packed with cheers and Philippine TV- style trivia Q & A led by former Dept. of Agrarian Reform lawyer Tim Penarroyo and Nova Rellosa-de Leon of PATAC (Phil. Advancement Through Art & Culture). Messages from VP Robredo and Senator Pangilinan were also shown.

The latest Lui Queano (Malaya) composition “Tara, Let’s Go!” also premiered at the caravan. The song urges the Filipino nation to support the honest and trustworthy candidate and make the country the real winner in the forthcoming elections.

York University student Kevin Feliciano got the crowd going with his up-tempo but conscience-pricking song “BBM Pa Rin”: “Ano ba talaga ang kanyang nagawa? Loyal lang ba sa may pangalan? Hindi na ba talaga titingnan ang nakaraan at Kasaysayan?”

As usual, soprano Lilac Cana enthralled the crowd with her stirring rendition of “Bayan Ko” and as if on cue everyone who was holding the Philippine tricolor, large or small, waved this.

Livvy Camacho, a grandmother, expertly emceed the  program, keeping her audience engaged.  She came to the event bringing along fellow UP alumni. As a veteran of the First Quarter Storm and EDSA Uno, it was only natural for her to rekindle in the crowd the spirit of a bygone era in Philippine history when the youth and the educated class were heavily involved in fighting causes.

The caravan was participated in by an estimated 140 cars that pulled out of Chinguacousy Community Centre in Brampton ending in Mississauga Valley Park. The coordinating committee headed by Mississauga Filipino community leader Rick Falco is credited with the order that characterized the caravan, thanks also to the help of Toronto Police Sgt Philip Mendoza, who volunteered as chief marshal, and main marshals at assembly points like Diana Gamboa and Tim Penarroyo.

The sentiment of Chris Viquiera–who travelled the farthest from Kingston City which is 284 kms away–perhaps echoed the general sentiment of all the caravan participants that day: “ I want to be counted as having done my part for the Philippines, even if I no longer live there. I owe it to my children and the following generation. I don’t want my being apolitical to haunt me in the years to come.”

Please keep posted for future related events of Kabayan. (RJSC)

Photo credits: Earl Dacara, Rey Ching, Lui Queano

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