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Home Sections Literature and Fourth Estate Filipino Press Clubs from Chicago, Sydney and Toronto Donate to Massacre Victims
Filipino Press Clubs from Chicago, Sydney and Toronto Donate to Massacre Victims PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Literature and Fourth Estate
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Friday, 12 February 2010 21:34

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)

 

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – More than $4,000 had been so far donated by Filipino press clubs from Chicago, Illinois, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, to survivors of the journalists who were massacred in Maguindanao province in the Philippines last Nov. 23, it was learned today.

 

Jaime K. Pimentel of the Filipino Press Group of Sydney said his press group has donated (Australian) $3,480 to the survivors of the victims of massacred journalists through the National Press Club of the Philippines.

 

Ting Joven, treasurer of the National Press Club of the Philippines in the United States (NPC Phil.-U.S.A.) based in Chicago, had wired $773.00 to the widow of Bong Reblando, a reporter of the Manila Bulletin, who was one of the 31 journalists massacred in Maguindanao.

 

Mrs. Myrna Reblando’s daughter, Maria Priscilla P. Reblando, acknowledged in an email that her mom had received the donation from the NPC Phil.–U.S.A. in her bank account.

 

Tenny Soriano, president of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario (PPCO) based in Toronto, said his press group had sent (Canadian) $750.00 to the survivors of the journalist victims through Rommel Rebollido of the Philippine News Agency and Inday Varona, officer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

 

Renato Perdon of the Filipino Press Group Sydney initially personally turned over A$1,330 to Louie Logarta, NPC Secretary, and Fely Santos, NPC secretarial staff, in the NPC office in Manila.

 

The Australian Filipino press group wired A$1,350 that was raised by Filipino community leader Mrs. Cen Amores and friends. It also sent another A$800 that was received by Ms. Santos. Ms. Santos said NPC President Benny Antiporda turned over the donations to Mrs. Reblando and other families.

 

A mong the donors to the Sydney press groups were Mrs. Arelene Howe (Filipina married to an Australian), who donated A$500, and A$300 from The Hot Mamaz club: Neria Soliman, Shiela Collantes, Angel Laney, Baby Kasilag, Bing Williams, Luzette Saez, Vilma Enriquea, Violy Bryant, Lourdes Catap and Sue Chang.

 

Mr. Soriano said the money the PPCO sent “will be channeled to the NUJP fund for journalists' children. We are continuing the fund campaign but this time, we will be collecting children's clothes, books and other materials needed by these kids.”

 

Ms. Joven said among the donors for the NPC Phil.-U.S.A fund drive were  Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis ($300); NPC Phil.-U.SA. ($150), Tonie Sison of Las Vegas, Nevada-based Asian American Times ($100); and club members Yoly and Bart Tubalinal, Joseph G. Lariosa, Joe Balmadrid, Manny Zambrano, Ting Joven, June Delfin, Nelia Bernabe, and Jean Paredes-Tablizo.

 

In an email, Maria Priscilla P. Reblando said, “In behalf of my family, we would like to express our gratitude to the following organizations and persons for the extended help they give to us for the NPC-Phil.-U.SA., Yoly and Bart Tubalinal, Joseph G. Lariosa, Joe Balmadrid, Manny Zambrano, Ting Joven, Loida N. Lewis, Jun Delfin, Nelia Bernabe, Jean Paredez-Tablizo, Tonie Sison of Las Vegas. We sincerely appreciate your time and effort you spent to help us in our needs even if you are busy with your family and profession.

 

“We especially appreciate your effort in connecting with us and never hesitate to extend your help. I personally thank you for showing us your sympathy and condolences and letting us feel the presence of your love and care you gave for our loved one Alejandro “Bong” Reblando, Sr.” (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

© opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.

 

(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)

 



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Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2010 21:56
 
Comments (9)
1 Tuesday, 08 March 2011 23:53
I'm a bit aghast to see my name appear on the list of people who received donations for victims of the Ampatuan massacre. I wish the writer of the blog could have double checked with me or the NUJP.
By the time the Ampatuan massacre happened, I was no longer chair or even a director of the NUJP. If Terry Soriano coursed money through me, what channel did she use? When were these funds given? Where are the receipts? To whose name were the deposits or whatever made?! Didn't you even ask to see these, Mr. Lariosa?
I'd really like an explanation for this
2 Tuesday, 08 March 2011 23:55
I'm surprised that you contacted the Reblando's via an email but did not do the same with me. It's not like I've been hiding in some dark, dank cave
3 Thursday, 10 March 2011 01:42
Dear Ms. Varona:

At the time that I was writing my story in February of 2010, it was the first time that I came to know your name thru Mr. Tenny (not Terry) Soriano. I got the impression then from Tenny that the PPCO donation was on its way. And because I trusted Mr. Soriano, there was no reason for me to verify the information from you.
To tell you the truth, I considered giving the donation of the NPC-Phil. U.S.A. to NUJP when I had a hard time contacting the family of Bong Reblando and the NPC in Manila.
But at that time, for some reason the NUJP website was not accessible, maybe it was still under construction. Every time, I read the NUJP on the Internet newspapers, I was always looking for a name of an NUJP official and a corresponding email address to match. But I had no luck.
When could not find a friend of Bong Reblando to provide me Bong’s survivor’s contact info, I called up the Manila Bulletin, which gave me Bong’s survivor’s phone number. Fortunately, Bong’s daughter has an email address and we were in contact ever since. I like to let you know that I was exchanging email messages with Bong when he was alive.
And I assure you Tenny gave me your name in good faith.
Sorry, if printing your name upset you. I have no reason to upset you either because I do not even know you.
Regards.

Joseph
4 Thursday, 10 March 2011 05:40
Dear Joseph,
I accept your explanation. I also know you understand the reason for being upset.
I have been told by Tenny (sorry for the mispelling and the wrong gender pronoun), that he has written to you to explain his erroneous claim. May I ask you in the name of NUJP to correct the story? The following are excerpts from threads between officers of the Ontario group, including Tenny, and me. I think they are self-explanatory and hope you can help clarify the matter through another post.
My first step in clarifying the mystery was to write Ramon Datol of the Ontario group as he was a colleague in the defunct Evening Star. I contacted him through Facebook.
**
To: Ramon Datol
Subject: TENNY SORIANO'S claim of sending money for Ampatuan massacre victims
Dear Mon,
I was shocked today to get a message from NUJP Sec-Gen Weng Paraan re a blog post on Mabuhay Radio by Joseph Lariosa that mentioned conduits for aid to the media victims of the Ampatuan massacre. (See link below)
I will not comment on the other claims, only on what concerns me.
This is the disturbing content:
"Tenny Soriano, president of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario (PPCO) based in Toronto, said his press group had sent (Canadian) $750.00 to the survivors of the journalist victims through Rommel Rebollido of the Philippine News Agency and Inday Varona, officer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines."
I'm writing to you because you're an officer of that same club.
However did I get dragged into this? When did Mr. Soriano get in touch with me? When did he send the funds? Where did he course the funds? Where are the receipts? I wasn't even a director anymore of the NUJP (though I remain a committed and member) when the Ampatuan massacre happened. We have ALWAYS referred any queries re donations to the NUJP scholarship fund to officers in charge -- and in this case, it wasn’t Mr. Rebolido either.
Mon, you guys have to clarify this. I hope you do it fast.
Thanks,
inday
The next boxes contain subsequent communications, which I am sharing here in the interest of full disclosure.
5 Thursday, 10 March 2011 05:47
Mon, bless him, responded swiftly to my letter.
He sent Tenny Soriano this note (corrected for minor typos) on March 9, cc’ing me:
“pare, paki-clarify kay inday espina-varona ang issue na ito, pls. kenino ba tayo nagpadala ng pera para sa ampatuan massacre victims? Di ba kay ricky caluen? kenino naman ibinigay ni ricky ang donations natin? .. 'pre paki-sagot lng si inday ... thanks ..
preng monde”
**
That same day, Tenny Soriano replied to Mon Datol:
“ Pre,Mondee,
Akong bahalang sumagot diyan. kinontak ko na si ricky. anong email ni Inday at akong mismo ang mageexplain sa kanya.”

**
I immediately responded to the two gentlemen:

Dear Mon,
Thanks for acting swiftly on this disturbing development. Really appreciate this.
Hello, Tenny, I am getting more confused here. In the first place I do not even know who Ricky Caluen is. For the sake of transparency and documentation, I am including NUJP officers in the loop. Please understand that the NUJP has always been proud of its reputation for being strict about funds, especially those meant for victims and heirs of those who have fallen due to media violence. Masakit sa akin na mabahiran itong reputasyon na pinagkaingatan ng organisasyon.
Tenny, please do write a formal letter addressed to me and to NUJP and do cc Mr. Lariosa who wrote that Mabuhay Radio blog. Clearly, from Mon's email, those funds were never meant to be coursed through me. That's a lot of money so please clarify this issue immediately.
Salamat sa inyong dalawa.
inday

(The next box will include further explanations and questions)
6 Thursday, 10 March 2011 05:57
This is Tenny's letter, also on March 9:

Dear Inday,
This is to clear up the confusion regarding the PPCO's donation to the NUJP thru Mr.Rommel Rebollido of the PNA some two years ago.
To set the record straight and I would like to address this to the NUJP leadeship,that our donation was never coursed thru Ms.Inday Varona but to Mr.Rebollido..
Mr.Joseph Lariosa's story on the donation was accurate. Its true that I mentioned Ms.Varona name but only to give credit to her as an NUJP official.
(**note -- That wasn't what the article said. The article said the funds were coursed through Mr. Rebolido and Inday Varona)

Here are the facts:
Our PPCO representative,Mr.Ricardo Caluen travelled to the Philippines bringing with him the PPCO funds of $750 with instructions of contacting Ms.Varona to be given to the NUJP.
According to him, he was instructed by Ms.Varona to get in touch with Mr.Rebollido
for the donation.Mr.Caluen emailed me that he will get in touch with Mr.Rebollido since he is a good friend . (**Not true. See subsequent emails)
Apparently, Mr.Caluen and Rebollido never got the chance to meet and instead, Mr.Caluen remitted the money via Llhulier addressed to Rommel Rebollido Philippione News Agency (PNA).
Mr.Caluen said the money was received and acknowledged and would be used "for the children of the journalists victims " and also to fund some "camping acitivities for the children ".
From the outset, my instructions were to contact Ms.Varona or failing to do this, somebody at the hierarchy of the NUJP .
We would be very much interested if we could clear up these things if only to preserve the good name and integrity of the NUJP as an organization and of course that of Ms.Inday Varona .
Further,if there are other assistance you require to clear up these things, pleaase don't hesiate to get in touch with me. I have also asked Mr.Ricardo Caluen to be ready to provide additional info or details to bring closure this confusion.
Maraming salamat and best regards,

tenny f.soriano
past president-Phil.Press Club of Ontario (canada)
**
My reply:

Thank you, Tenny.
I still do not recall telling Mr. Calluen to get in touch with Rommel. Every other person who has approached me to help NUJP or media victims has always been referred to whoever sits as Treasurer or sec gen.
But thank you anyway.
7 Thursday, 10 March 2011 06:07
The following email messages, unless otherwise noted, were exchanged also on March 9.
Fron Tenny Soriano
Hi Inday,
Here;s a copy of Ricky's e-mail to me about the donation. By the way, I CCd Joseph in my letter to the NUJP and you but just thesame I will also email him to clear up the issue .
If you have any questions, pls.d so as I copied Ricky so he can also be in the loop.
Para malwanagan natin ang lahat lahat abnd then maybe we could trace where the donations went.
salamat muli,
tenny

**
--- On Wed, 3/9/11, Ricardo Caluen < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > wrote: To: "Tenny Soriano" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
hahahaha...now am beginning to see Inday's concern...and the culprit is you :))) looks like in the information you provided to Joseph Lariosa you kept on mentioning Inday Varona's name as if she was indeed involved when we remitted the donation to Rommel Rebollido when in fact she wasn't involved at all...hahahaha....
and it looks like (as can be gleaned from my own email below...an inference) that Inday Varona herself has suggested that we send the donation to Rommel Rebollido (possibly because she was no longer an officer or something). But please take note that I coursed the donation to Rommel in his capacity as head of Mindanao PNA...
anyway, i can no longer seem to dig up my Facebook message to Rommel where I gave him the reference number to claim our donation remitted via M Lhuillier. what I do recall from what I wrote there is that I requested a copy of any write up those in Mindanao might have regarding our donation. I also recall suggesting that since our donation was not much (P32,000) for them to choose maybe around 6 beneficiaries only para naman meron silang at least tig P5,000.
I think what Inday wants is a disclaimer that she was never a party to receiving the donation...something that had been implied by your initial suggestion and statements.
(He also attached an earlier email to Tenny)
Date: Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Hi, Tenny. Am back. Poorer..but definitely invigorated. And I had to face a "chilly" reception upon my arrival---the wintry blast.

Re our donation....I was able to send the equivalent of C$750---P32,000--to Rommel Rebollido, Mindanao PNA head, as per Inday Varona's recommendation. I had to chip in a little bit...para saradong P32 K...plus another P1,000 for the remittance fee. Pero OK lang.
Just wondering when the $250 would be deposited in my account. Been checking my acct and I don't seem to see this. Just to refresh your memory and our Treasurer's: $100 from PPCO (on top of $502 raised that night) plus $150 from Rollie Cabrera. As my funds are depleted (understandably!), would appreciate if the deposit would be made...or the cheques mailed to me soonest.
Thanks.
Ricky

**
JUST TO CLARIFY
The inference is not clear at all. I would not have encouraged giving funds to Rommel Rebolido as 1) he was/is not the NUJP treasurer 2) was/is not the administrator of the NUJP scholarship fund. I have always referred all queries re donation/aid to victims of media violence and their heirs to either May Rodriguez (then treasurer) and Weng Carranza Paraan (former treasurer and head of the NUJP Media Safety Office and now secretary-general)

**
The last exchanges:
Hi Inday,
I already sent an e-mail as you instructed.From the e-mails of Weng Paraan and others, it would seem that our donation did not reach the NUJP. Is that correct?

If that is so, its unfortunate but maybe it got lost somewhere in the flurry of other donations streaming during that time.I hope they find it because, I will have to expliain it to our membership . Sana naman makita at mabigyan ng liwanag.
Kasi nagplaplano pa kaming magpadala kahit mga libro/ school supplies or clothes for the children of our fallen colleagues.

I also asked Ricky Caluen to be prepared to give details or other added info to clear up the matter. Nakakahiya naman sa iyo, nadamay ka pa.
Please get in touch.
Maraming salamat ulit,
**
inday espina-varona
to tennys, Ramon, Weng, Nestor, nonoy, NUJP, May, inday_nujp, RCALUEN

Dear Tenny
Not a single centavor was coursed through the NUJP. I am sorry, but it's hard for us to accept money "getting lost somewhere in the flurry of other donations..." because we have NEVER lost money yet, whether for NUJP or any other person....."
I am cc'ing the NUJP directors because they deserve to have full disclosure....
I am certain you will understand why I am upset. Thank you

Just to close...
I apologize, Joseph for hogging several boxes. But donations for victims are a very serious matter and I feel that full and open disclosure is best for everyone. I thank you for the space, Mon Datol for the swift action, Tenny for helping track down the problem. I hope that Mr. Calauen and his group clarify among themselves and their donor friends where the money went. While I understand that he may have been pressed for time during his visit, any group or individual that undertakes to carry a donation for a person or persons in need also has the responsibility to get proof that the money, indeed, has reached the right beneficiary. Unfortunately, in this case, it did not happen.
The NUJP will soon issue a statement on the matter for closure of the issue.
Again,
Thank you.
8 Thursday, 10 March 2011 11:44
Hi, Inday:

Before I write a follow-up story, can somebody, who has an email address or contact info of Mr. Rommel Rebollido ask Rommel to identify the names of the "6 beneficiaries only para naman meron silang at least tig P5,000" that was supposedly given to them by Rommel? If these beneficiaries confirm receiving the P5,000, this will close this thread.
Regards.

Joseph
9 Thursday, 10 March 2011 19:13
Thanks for that info, Joseph. Copy. Will pass on

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