By Dermiel R. Robles
"Ang dami-dami niyang taga-pakinig na hanggang ngayon ay nagte-text sa akin, nangungulila, nagpapahayag ng kanilang praises of sympathy at yung kanilang expression na matapang si Percy," Roy revealed, emphasizing the enduring impact of Percy's work on those who admired his bravery and dedication to journalism.
The forum was not just an opportunity for Percy's family to remember him but also a platform to discuss the critical issue of press freedom in the Philippines. Joining Roy Mabasa as a guest speaker was Ellen Tordesillas, a co-founder of VERA Files and a prominent advocate for media freedom. Her presence underscored the importance of protecting journalists and ensuring that their voices are not silenced in the pursuit of truth.
The successful organization of the forum, "Keeping the Flame of Freedom: The Case Study of Percy Lapid," was made possible through the dedicated efforts of People’s Media Advocacy Asia – Center for People’s Media (PMAA-CPM). Under the direct supervision of Veronica Uy-Vitug, PMAA President, the organization played a pivotal role in ensuring that Percy Lapid Mabasa's legacy was appropriately honored and the discussion on press freedom was facilitated. The event also received valuable support from the Czech embassy in the Philippines, highlighting the international significance of upholding press freedom and remembering journalists who have paid the ultimate price for their dedication to the truth.
Photos by Levi Shane Montano
Alwyn Alburo, a producer at GMA7, assumed the dual role of forum moderator and project director, ensuring the smooth flow of discussions and the successful execution of the project. His expertise in media production and journalism added a professional touch to the event.
The forum attracted an engaged audience, including campus journalists from Silliman University and Negros Oriental State University. Their participation underscored the importance of fostering a new generation of journalists who are committed to upholding the principles of truth, transparency, and press freedom, much like Percy Lapid Mabasa did throughout his career. Through the collaborative efforts of these individuals and organizations, the forum not only honored Percy's memory but also advanced the crucial conversation about the role of journalism in preserving democracy and the importance of protecting the rights of journalists to report fearlessly and without censorship. PMAA
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - In the heart of the United
States lies a land of growth and opportunity. Arizona, once a desert state, has
transformed into a thriving hub, attracting people from all corners of the
Over the years, the state
has witnessed an incredible transformation. From a mere 200,000 residents in
1912, Arizona's population has swelled to over seven million today. Among the
tapestry of cultures, Filipinos have established themselves as a vibrant community,
second only to Mexicans.
With dreams of a better life, Filipinos made Arizona their home. This journey was not without its challenges. Adapting to a new land, they sought to meet their basic needs while embracing the promise of a prosperous future. One organization emerged as a guiding light amid this journey — the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, PACCA.
"Phoenix, Arizona, is unlike the Philippines. It may not be as lively, but it's an ideal place for growth and self-discovery. I chose to develop my skills in the accounting sector, harnessing my financial expertise to contribute to both my career and the community," explains Edward Lago, current president of the Chamber.
PACCA's inception in 1994 marked a turning point. A collective effort by Filipino entrepreneurs birthed a platform that fostered unity and support.
This Chamber breathed life into the dreams of Filipino Americans, uniting them under a common purpose. The chamber's diversity became its strength, with members hailing from various ethnic backgrounds and industries.
"PACCA's diversity knows no bounds. From healthcare to law, from banking to accounting, we stand as a resource for every sector. It's not just about business; it's about giving back to the community," says Edward Lago.
"Our involvement extends beyond commerce. We coordinate with the Philippine Consular office during outreach events and lend a hand during community celebrations. Our efforts are amplified through collaborations with the Council of Filipino Organization of Arizona (COFAC), enriching the lives of those we serve," narrates Leonardo Aromin.
With the support of its
growing membership, PACCA has achieved remarkable feats. From less than a
hundred, its members now exceed 200, each contributing to the betterment of not
only existing members but the entire Filipino community in Arizona.
As Arizona continues its journey of growth, PACCA stands as a beacon of empowerment, lighting the path for Filipino Americans to flourish, united by their dreams and their commitment to community. PMAA
By Dermiel R. Robles
Phoenix, Arizona - After 3 years of living in a foreign land, we felt proud and honored to be at the doorstep of the Philippine General Consulate in Houston, Texas. In our excitement, we took our souvenir photos in front of the Consulate before we do our business --renewing my wife's passport. We migrated to the US in February 2019 and stayed in Phoenix, Arizona.
We flew from Phoenix to Houston after we finalized the appointment at the Philippine Consulate General. We have mixed emotions while entering the premises of the Consulate General. We cannot explain how we felt at that time while waiting for our turn. We went to the Embassy to renew my wife's passport because we plan to spend the new year in our hometown together with our two Kids.
For the photocopy, it will be $1 per copy (2 copies = $2), and the envelope with a stamp for the delivery will cost around $15 dollars. When completed, you will go back to the DFA office and submit the duplicate copy together with the envelope you bought. After this, you will proceed to the cashier to pay for the renewal processing which is pegged at $60 dollars. So the total expenses incur are around $78 these does not include the transportation, food, and accommodation plus the extra effort you exerted to make this thing possible.
Well, maybe I just expected too much, and maybe the Philippine Consular Office in Houston, Texas have their reason for this kind of service being provided to their countrymen. At any rate, it is still nice to see how our country improve a lot. PMAA.
Berkeley, CA - "All of this together will amount for so much for the Philippines"- this is the emotional statement of Bibeth Orteza, Chair of the Concerned Artist of the Philippines and moderator in the FaceBook (FB) live event entitled "Stories From The Homefront: Climate Justice" Friday, January 28th.
The event which was primarily aimed at generating donations for the local communities in Negros Oriental which was devastated by the super typhoon Odette in December also became an opportunity to create serious conversations regarding climate change and climate justice.
Ginger Leopoldo, executive director for CIRCA Pintig and moderator of the event, in her introduction, provided detailed insight into the catastrophic damages of Typhoon Rai, locally known as Typhoon Odette, while urging for the need for solidarity and progressive action on climate justice.
Sylvio Tamayo Dorig Jr., community organizer and volunteer correspondent of the Center for People's Media (CPM), who himself lost his home during the onslaught of the typhoon gave updates on the situation in the province of Nergros Oriental which he described as the ground zero. "We are almost 50,000 people affected... 300 people are missing", Sylvio reports in a video demonstrating not just the physical damage Typhoon Odette has had on his community, but more disturbingly, the emotional and financial burden as well.
In the midst of desperation and the struggle to start anew, Sylvio disclosed that the majority of the community do not feel the help being provided by [their] local government. "There are places in our city where the debris of the typhoon are still there because the funds promised have not been delivered", Sylvio narrated.
He said that all the help they have received such as water, relief packs, etc.- were donated by the NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) while others come from universities, like Silliman University. "The people are frustrated, tired, and in desperate need of help," Sylvio added.
Wilson Fortaleza, Journalist, and Environmentalist, then gave a presentation on climate justice- specifically detailing the pollution and environmental damage the Philippines repeatedly experiences, being at the receiving end of the uncontrollable use and misuse of energy by developed countries and mega-corporations.
Fortaleza argues that developed countries and corporations are major contributors to GHG (Greenhouse gases, compound gases that trap heat or longwave radiation in the atmosphere ) emissions. "They have accountability and responsibility (climate debts) to address, including a faster and wider cut on carbon emissions, as well as financial obligations to meet for climate actions especially for most vulnerable countries like the Philippines," Fortaleza explained.
Fortaleza said, in order to achieve true climate justice, there needs to be an overall recognition of the harmful production and consumption processes made by developed countries and mega-corporations, a switch to low-carbon economic activities, and a payment of climate debts to nations like the Philippines. He stressed that the impact of the climate crisis is not equal where developing countries get most affected and solutions to fix this are long overdue.
Bibeth Orteza, actress, writer, director, and a staunch activist for political reforms and environmental protection, talked about her own experience with calamities as her hometown is getting hit by disasters regularly. "It isn't just words or something that you read on Facebook, these people [Wilson's groups] really go into solid research," she said, urging everyone to continue raising awareness on climate justice.
She called on people to listen to Sylvio's concerns, do their own research on the situation, and actively respond by donating to his community and other affected communities, specifically her Filipino Kababayan's abroad, like in the US to help, saying that "[they] are a part of this. We are all a part of each other's struggles... we always need to pay things forward because we are Filipino."
The event ended with a beautiful song from Noel Cabangon, Filipino Folk Singer, Composer, and member of Concerned Artists of the Philippines, as well as a rendition of the Panatang Luntian "Stories From The Homefront: Climate Justice" is a collaborative project of Circa-Pintig, People's Media Advocacy Asia- Center for People's Media (PMAA-CPM), and SENDWAVE to help the people of Negros Oriental, Philippines. Anthem by Sining Obrero (Concerned Artists of the Philippines).
You can still donate to the cause! "SENDWAVE" is extending a free credit of $25 for any new users who download the app and use the promo code "PMAA" to remit money to families in the Philippines.
"We hope to raise $2,500 to help at least 50 families. Be a part of the change." ends Ginger Leopoldo. PMAA
Berkeley, CA - "The fundraising is not just charity, but about solidarity", this is how Ginger Leopoldo executive director of the Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA), Pintig (the Filipino word for heartbeat/pulse), described their upcoming event on the 28th of January 2022 to raise funds for the victims of the super typhoon dubbed as "Raising Voices: Stories from the HOMEFRONT", in a one-on-one interview with People's Media Advocacy Asia (PMAA).
Typhoon Rai, known locally as Typhoon Odette, violently struck the Philippines on December 17, 2021. Despite damaging 1.4 million homes, 514 towns, and leaving 8,700 locations without food or water supplies, the effects of Typhoon Odette are not met with adequate solutions.
Sylvio Tamayo Dorig Jr., a community organizer and volunteer correspondent of the Center for People's Media (CPM) claim that afflicted communities fail to receive enough support from the national government. Without proper assistance and resources, these communities- most notably in the Negros area and Cebu region- are left to rebuild homes and infrastructures on their own.In an effort to stand in solidarity with the affected communities, Raising Voices: Stories from the Homefront-Climate Justice, aims not only to raise funds for the victims but to provide awareness and discussion around natural disasters like Typhoon Odette and the overall response- or lack thereof- by world leaders and the national government.
Through guest speakers, Wilson Fortaleza (Journalist and Environmentalist) and Sylvio Tamayo Dorig Jr. (Community Organizer), guest moderator, Bibeth Orteza (Concerned Artists of the Philippines Chair), and guest artist, Noel Cabangon (Filipino Folk Singer and Composer), the event will amplify the voices/artistry of individuals while simultaneously providing support for communities abroad.
Leopoldo also discloses that the remittance company, "SENDWAVE", will join in the effort by "extending a free credit of $25 for any new users who download the app and use the promo code "PMAA" to remit money to their families in the Philippines.
The event will be Live on Facebook: Friday, January 28, 6:00 pm PT/ 8:00 pm CT / 9:00 pm ET and 10:00 am, January 29, in Manila. PMAA
NOTE: This is an updated version of the article published by Rappler in 2020.
The grim images of every typhoon’s aftermath show not only the horrors of devastation but also the cost that come hard to imagine. Costs are enormous, but do we have any idea how much they are in peso or in dollar terms? And who, by the way, are paying those bills and at what cost?
Life as we know it will never be the same.
The new normal was introduced after CORONA VIRUS 2019 or COVID19 devastated not only the lives of every family but even the future of the next generation.
And the people who can share what they have lost are those people who survive the tragedy just like the 67 years old Mexican Arturo Cantu, who has been in the United State since 1986.
He said before the pandemic spread globally, he used to travel from different states to visit his kids.
“They live in New York, Sacramento… Washington, so we use to go and travel. Visit my family in Alfaso, Texas“, Arturos adds.
But when the US Government ordered the lockdown, everything for Arturo changes dramatically.
“We just got to struggle, way back in Christmas…. it really hit me hard… my wife and my two kids got the COVID“, Arturo added.
Arturo, a ramp agent from Piedmont Airlines for seven (7) years considers himself blessed together with his family to survive the height of the pandemic.
“With the pandemic, you must think about it and appreciate what you have. The get-together, the values, people have to learn from this, some people don’t, I did. What I am struggling (Arturo pause for a while and sighs), personally COVID hit me in my lungs, and so my lungs are working less 65%”, Arturo narrates.
The struggle of Arturo was also felt by Erick Fanathin, a ramp agent also from Piedmont Airlines for 3 years.
He said even thou that his family did not catch the virus, the ordeal of a lockdown due to the spreading COVID19, is terrifying.
A life he said that is fill with fear, doubt, and uncertainty.
“Like everything starts to sat down, so jobs, people getting unemployed, they don’t have work and people lose their jobs, they get fired, they get lay-off and a lot of people don’t have many to pay rent, so they’ve been struggling”, Erick explained.
Erick admitted that his life has changed drastically especially at work. He thought that he will be part of other people who lost their jobs.
“And here at the airport, I get little flight, very few a day. A day we get one or two flights with less bags. Maybe one or two, the most a get during the pandemic is like ten bags. And their cutting hours, they let people go early. We don’t get enough hours”, Erick narrates.
For Arturo and Erick, whatever happens, they will continue to Live and care for their family.
And they will continue to Pray that this nightmare will soon be over. PMAA
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the local weather station in the country described it as a Super Typhoon before it made landfall having winds of 220 kilometers per hour and a wave height of more than 14 meters in the open sea.
With this, Super Typhoon Odette left a trail of devastation in its wake -- affecting millions. ... Over seven million people were affected, according to the latest government data, and the typhoon flattened houses, upended lives, and devastated farming and fishing communities which provide a major source of income and livelihoods.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that Typhoon Odette battered the Visayas and Mindanao region living 407 dead.
And until to this writing, many residents in the affected area such as Barangay Tambacan, Bais City, and Manjuyod both are from Negros Oriental are still trying to cope-up with their situation.
According to Sylvio Tamayo Dorig Jr., a community organizer and volunteer correspondent of Center for People's Media (CPM), people in their community are not yet getting on their feet, and support from the national government is not enough.
"People need more food, blanket, and medicines while staying in the allocated evacuation sites designated by local government", Sylvio added.
He said even he himself is not spared by Typhoon Odette, wherein his home was totally shattered when it landfall December 16, 2021.
"We did not save any of our belongings, because floodwater is rising so quickly and nothing we can do just save ourselves", Sylvio narrated.
Sylvio and PMAA-CPM together with CIRCA Pintig base in Chicago, Illinois, will do a special report in an effort to raise awareness and to raise funds in support of the community affected in Negros for their recovery. PMAA
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