FIL-CORE SUPPORT GOUP, Toronto’s most prominent organization for the Filipino caregivers hosted Mr. Njel De Mesa (NDM) over the “Semana Santa” holiday. Mr. De Mesa is notable Philippine artist and an ardent supporter of the Philippine president, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Mr. De Mesa is a popular singer, song writer, musician and a board member of the Movies Television Control and Rating Board (MTCRB). As a MTCRB board member, part of Njel’s duties includes imposing parental guidance and censorships ratings in the movies and television shows shown in the Philippines. He was also instrumental in the successful campaign caravan of President Duterte, entertaining people and making sure that then Mayor Duterte gets elected as president.
Njel’s presidential commitment did not end after the election. He continued his support of Mayor Duterte through social media promotion, and by creating global awareness of the accomplishment of Duterte’s government to Filipino overseas. The Toronto visit is a testimonial to his commitment: he came to reach out to all the Filipinos in the GTA and to produce his latest MTV with the participation of his Toronto kababayan’s in the video. The former was a forum and outreach for Filipino-Canadian on a Sabado de Gloria at the Anderson College, Toronto.
The NDM Forum was hosted by no less than its president, Ms. Christine Salubre, the following were her remarks in opening the NDM event:
“Good afternoon to all, and I would like to welcome all of you to this forum. My name is Christine Salubre and I am the current president of Fil-Core. Today, foremost in my mind is my deep appreciation for your presence, in spite of this Holy Week long weekend, you took time and effort, to be with us today to share a great moment with our special guest from the Philippines.
At this juncture, allow me to present to all of you a brief history of our organization in capsule:
Fil-Core started when two friends decided to form an organization, originally called the Caregivers Support Group. Its primary purpose was for the caregivers to support each others, meet every weekend, share their story, share laughter’s and tears together.
Esther Lamuas and Judith Gonzales met at the Pickering Pentecostal church. They both agreed that they can join hands to build an organization that can help their colleagues. This will be a group where members will have a shoulder to cry on, someone to share and listen to their issues, help them understand work problems and help improve their care giving skills. No one thought that their effort would become an integral part of community life in the Greater Toronto Area. Fil-Core’s contribution became a fabric in the Canadian society.
Looking back at our history, the founding members are Midea Javier, Daisy Famadico, Lita Castillo, Nenette Palima, Tina Lamuas, Ofelia Avila, Odette Sison, Amy Geverro and Mary Antonette Sadang. To date, these people continued their passion to help new comers assimilate in the community and with unselfish dedication continued to help improve the lives of those in our group.
In August of 2006 marked the first ever Miss Caregiver Pageant. It was attended by around 30 caregivers and this was the most enjoyable activity ever organized by the group. Today we have in our audience our 2017 candidates, an 11-year event and still the most enjoyable annual event of our organization.
Fil-Core secret or our recipe for success as an organization is our desire to share. As the current president, I believed in this deed. Today, I would like to share with you a person who travelled millions of miles to speak to us, hear our issues, learn our problems and maybe answer questions that we have.”
The NDM forum with the various community organizations and guests in attendance lasted for over 2 hours. The Filipino community was one in requesting Mr. De Mesa to relay to President Duterte, that the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila should extend the working hours of our consulate in Toronto and embassy in Ottawa on Saturdays. The extension would benefit most our working OFW to process their passports, permits, certifications, government documents and other requirements during their weekend day off. Some attendees were also wondering why passport renewals and new passport request are taking too long and take almost the same time to process. Another concern that they need clarified from the government, is whether it is true or not, that POLO is not issuing OEC for direct hire OFW from the Philippines. They have to go through an agency in the Philippines and pay OEC. The OFW finds it unfair that they pay for OEC and none are issued to them. With Mr. De Mesa back in the Philippines, our community particularly the OFW that he met in his Toronto Forum hopes that their concern and issues reaches the president for expeditious attention.
On another note, Atin Ito and this writer wishes to extend our deepest and most sincere condolence to FILCORE founder Ms. Judith Gonzales for the passing of his beloved brother who hails from the Philippines.
By: Mann Nacario (Atin Ito)