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Home Sections Literature and Fourth Estate Filipino-Canadian Media Want Philippine Government to Recall its Labor Attaché for Insulting Remarks
Filipino-Canadian Media Want Philippine Government to Recall its Labor Attaché for Insulting Remarks PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Literature and Fourth Estate
Sunday, 07 March 2010 12:09

 

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Sunday, March 7, 2010 


E ither they're too onion-skinned or they were really disrespected. The Filipino media in
Toronto took umbrage at what they perceive as a slight against them by a ranking Department of Labor official attached to the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto. Now the controversy has taken an official air as the hostility reached the top Philippine diplomat in Canada's largest city. There are talks to ask Manila to recall him to the head office.

 

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Diplomat's Insulting Remark Triggers Media Uproar in Toronto, Canada

 

 

By Romeo P. Marquez

Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)

and Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA)

 


T ORONTO, Canada – A press conference on Saturday (March 6) called by newly-named Consul General Minerva Falcon turned into an emotional three-hour grievance forum against a Filipino labor official attached with the Philippine Consulate here.
 
The Philippine diplomat, facing her first press conference with the locals, has barely warmed her seat, having planed in ten days ago from
Manila as a replacement for Alejandro Mosquera whose six-year tenure as consul-general ended in January.
 
Media complaints surfaced as soon as the 63-year-old lawyer and former ambassador to
Germany and Switzerland had delivered her remarks about having cordial relations with the Filipino community in Toronto, Canada's largest city where most of the estimated 250,000 Filipinos live.


Consul General Falcon lent her ear as two of the most vociferous publishers and editors from among the more than a dozen newspapers here grumbled about being called "morons" – a tag they claimed was labeled on them by Philippine Labor Attaché Frank Luna.
 
Mr. Luna was not present at the press conference. Neither was he immediately available for comment. Questions e-mailed to his office by this reporter are still awaiting answers as of this writing.

 

Ms. Falcon, who was apparently briefed earlier about the growing animosity between Luna and the media, kept her cool when confronted by a barrage of questions from Ace Alvarez, managing editor of Manila Media Monitor; Ramon Datol, publisher and editor of Philippine Courier, and other media persons.

 

The press conference at first sounded like a police interrogation and Falcon played along well with Alvarez's line of questioning. When Datol's turn came, he loudly told the Consul General that Luna had called local reporters "morons", sparking laughter among the crowd.

 

Tenny Soriano, president of the Philippine Press Club based in Toronto, Ontario had described Luna in his story as the "odd man out of the diplomatic mission."

 

At one point, an angry Datol, his voice cracking, said it was the consensus of local media to have Luna declared "persona non grata" so he can be expelled from Canada.

 

Ms. Falcon, however, explained that it was the host country (Canada) that can do that, not the home country (Philippines) and had to be done on a reciprocal basis.

 

Absent that option, she said the media could seek relief by asking the department concerned to recall the person in question.

 

Consul General Falcon stressed, however, that she was not advocating nor suggesting the recall of Luna from his post as labor attaché.

 

Consul General Falcon says that it is the host country (Canada) that can declare a diplomat such as a labor attaché a ‘persona non grata’, not the home country (Philippines) and it has to be done on a reciprocal basis.

 

S he said the process is far more complicated than just submitting a petition to authorities in Manila.

 

Mr. Luna got the ire of local media after he gave an award to a reporter of Toronto Star, one of Canada's biggest newspapers, in recognition of his series of stories about Filipino caregivers.

 

The articles had prompted Canadian authorities to enact a new law protecting the care-givers' community.

 

Soriano said the award to the mainstream reporter was a big "slap on the face" of Filipino media because it portrayed them as not having done anything to Filipino caregivers.

 

But the fact was that another Filipino, Eduardo Lee, publisher of Atin Ito newspaper, had written extensively about the recurring issue long before the Star reporter came out with his first article. Lee was not recognized.

 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
Currents & Breaking News

Volume 4, Issue No. 1 / News That Fears None, Views That Favor Nobody /


A community service of Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@gmail.com) for the information and understanding of Filipinos and the diverse communities in North America. Written by Romeo P. Marquez, editor, Philippine Village Voice. Volume 4, Issue no.1, March 7, 2010.

 


 



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Last Updated on Sunday, 07 March 2010 12:25
 
Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 27 March 2010 08:49
Obviously the reporter who was able to SUCCESSFULLY lobby the whole country behind the particular issue should be awarded. It only makes sense! I can write extensively about an issue, but if my articles were not enough to influence the whole country and bring about the appropriate results, why would I even expect to be recognized with an award? Like Eduardo Lee, who does not see the award as an issue, I would be perfectly happy knowing that I have done my part and that the Filipino community received the support they needed.

Frank Luna recognized the results of the Toronto Star reporter to bring about change and we as a Filipno community should appreciate that. We should not fight amongst ourselves, we got better things to do with our time.

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