PPC-O looking beyond socializing

Community Opinion & Analysis Jun 1, 2006 at 2:16 pm

(Speech of Philippine Press Club-Ontario President Tenny Soriano, St. Boniface Church Social Hall, May 27, 2006)

Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. Welcome to our simple installation rites.

Please note that I used the word simple because in the years to come, this will be the hallmark of this new PPC-O administration.

‘Ika nga, as we say here in Canada – no frills, no bull. What you see is what you get!
We need to do this because the Filipino-Canadian community, as well as the PPC-O, is at the very crossroads of its existence.

If we don’t do anything… if we don’t act as a united group, we will wither away and nobody will even look at us… and worse… respect us.

I am talking about recent events that have galvanized the whole Filipino-Canadian community.

The latest is the “kutsara” affair or the spoon incident involving a young seven-year old insulted by a French-Canadian principal in Montreal; and, of course, the developments of a coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting of 17-year old Jeffrey Reodica at the hands of members of the Toronto police force.
Some of my colleagues will rather call his death as akin to “summary killings.” In the Philippine parlance, it is described as “salvage” to mean an execution without due process.

The PPC-O, under this new leadership and with concurrence of its members, condemns both incidents as these smack of bigotry and racial undertones.

We therefore call on the proper Canadian authorities to rectify the situation which has plunged a wary community into a restive, uneasy and indignant state of being. There is righteous anger seething amongst us.

This is where the PPC-O should come in and make its humble contribution of instilling sobriety and civility through the dissemination of timely and relevant information from which people can decipher a proper mode of action.

Originally, the PPC-O was conceived as a social club among media practitioners in the Greater Toronto Area. This means that it is an apolitical group which aim is to foster camaraderie among its members.
However, as it went along since its inception in 2002, some members became involved in community affairs, commencing in hosting or moderating forums like the “Meet the Press” where discussions focused on current community concerns and issues in the city, the province or the nation.

Today, the PPC-O is undergoing change. Slowly but surely and a little bit painstaking, an evolution is taking place with the PPC-O.

This is an evolution wherein which the PPC-O has to be a more active participant in helping shape the destiny of the community it serves and which stories and images it draws inspiration and life from.
But to do this, the PPC-O should stand up to the challenges of time and events to gain respect in the community.

It is sad to note that PPC-O members, in the pursuit of their moonlighting as newsmen, are at times ill-treated by a few of our kababayans who think PPC-O members are their personal chroniclers and photographers.

This misimpression of the role of media in the community has to end. The PPC-O will embark on several training programs to develop better community understanding of what a responsible and responsive media is all about, without sacrificing training programs to develop PPC-O members themselves.

But when a PPC-O member is subjected by anyone to any form of intimidation and harassment aimed to stifle truth, this PPC-O leadership will act accordingly and with haste.

And I am proud to say tonight that there are many in the community who support the Filipino-Canadian press in Ontario. They are all here, sitting with us, singing with us, socializing with us, and will be dancing with us later into the night. Let us give them a big round of applause.

They believe in what we are doing and I am sure, they will be with us as we strive to complete another phase of our growth as a club.

Yes, the PPC-O is a social club and it will remain a social club. But its members have tanscended those moments when they socialize only with each other. We have all realized that there is a wider horizon outside the confines of the club. We have come to note that we have to make the media and community socialize and work together. This is the reason why we are gathered here tonight.
This is also why I am taking this opportunity to call on Joel Reodica, brother of slain Jeffrey Reodica, to tell us why the community and media should work together to stand up for something that would make an impact on our lives as Torontonians and Ontarians.

I would like to end my speech with this quote from Amado Macasaet, noted journalist and chairman-president of the Philippine Press Institute, following proclamation 1017 of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo:

“Our duty in the media is to report as truthfully as we could, guided by our best lights. We are threatened with closure, and those who fear the truth might temporary succeed in stalling our voices. Lies, however, will in time be exposed. But enough of the counsels of fear and despair. Our commitment is to the truth. And while we have the room, however being constricted, nothing will bar us from pursuing our duty.”

Mabuhay ang PPC-O. Mabuhay ang mga kasapi nito. Mabuhay ang mga sumusuporta sa PPC-O.
Maraming Salamat muli at isang napakasayang gabi sa inyong lahat.