Police-community forum draws big crowd

Community News & Features May 1, 2004 at 10:12 am

By Brixton Lagac

TORONTO–The Filipino Community of 53 Division showed its strong support as nearly 500 people attended the Toronto Police Services’ inaugural outreach program at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Parish on Friday (April 16).

The event entitled “Toronto Pulis at Pilipino-Magkaisa,” was organized by Police Constable Philip Mendoza in conjunction with Philippine Consul General Alejandro Mosquera. The evening is intended to “encourage everyone to participate in the discussions surrounding the significant issues of crimes and safety for families,” said PC Mendoza. “It is also a chance to display and show our beautiful heritage and many talents,” he added.

Keynote speakers included Mosquera and Atty. Rolando Rico Olalia, the Philippine Consular Officer in Labour who impressed upon the crowd the value of overseas workers, estimated to inject 7.2 billion dollars into the Philippine economy. Ontario Provincial Specialist from the Ministry of Labour, Brendan Flanagan, acknowledged that workers from foreign countries are legally protected by provisions specific to the rights of Domestic workers and caregivers.

Also on hand were community leader Gene Lara and Staff Sergeant Heinz Kuck. S/Sgt. Kuck educated the large crowd on some appropriate reaction options when faced with danger. “Flight (run and escape), fight (engage the attacker) or comply,” are three plausible choices he said people can refer to depending on the situation. Lara roused the crowd with an emotional plea against violence – especially against women.

Another guest speaker was Staff Inspector Peter Sloly who was impressed by the terrific turnout for the event. “It’s wonderful to see the three F’s present here this evening: Friends, family and faith,” he said.

The evening was capped off by exciting performances including Arnis Canada Inc., who showcased the Filipino martial arts, Canadian Idol-worthy singers Jessa Dee Luna and Sharen Martin and dance selections by Culture Philippines of Ontario.