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Feb 04th
Home Sections Entertainment ABS-CBN and GMA-7 Competition Divides Filipino-Canadian Community in Toronto, Canada
ABS-CBN and GMA-7 Competition Divides Filipino-Canadian Community in Toronto, Canada PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 30 January 2011 10:38


The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Sunday, January 30, 2011 

T he
Philippines' two giant networks are unwittingly breaking the fabric of Filipino family apart. Their mostly nonsensical shows –  entertainment fare that caters to prurient interests – are aggressively marketed in North America, specifically in Toronto, Canada, with little or no regard to whether they ruin or uphold Filipino values. Their intense marketing strategies have been reduced to proxy wars between families and organizations of competing interests. At least a dozen officials resigned from the group that organizes the annual community fests. A newspaper columnist was censored over an innocuous mention of a name. An editor admits to not being able to practice fair reporting due to an arrangement with one of the protagonists. The Filipino family in Toronto is in shambles . . . over money!



 PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE/The Filipino Web Channel - Redefining Community News

Currents & Breaking News 

Volume 5, Issue No. 4

/ News That Fears None, Views That Favor Nobody /

. . . . . A community service of The Filipino Web Channel ( and the Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@gmail.comfor the information and understanding of Filipinos and the diverse communities in North America . . . . . .






Toronto's Filipino Community Reels Under; Mass Resignations Hit Top Organization as Charges of Incompetence, Lack of Transparency Fly




Member, Asian American Journalists Association


T ORONTO - The Philippines' top entertainment clans have taken their internecine wars to North America, pitting relatively-peaceful Filipino families against one another and threatening their respective communities.


That's how far the Kapamilya and Kapuso followers have gone in their battle for the pockets of thousands of Filipinos in Toronto, at least, where a thriving Filipino community has been turned into a battleground of competing business interests.


Kapamilya is, of course, the entertainment powerhouse TFC or The Filipino Channel of ABS CBN. Kapuso is the giant GMA-7 or GMA Pinoy TV, reputedly the Philippines no. 1 TV network.


What once was a solid Filipino family is now divided into two hostile groups -- the Kapamilya and Kapuso. A third by a newly-emerging channel tries to waylay loyalties by coming up with Kapatid.


A humble upstart with no big money to spend, to begin with, mocks the three big networks with its Kapitbahay, a video outlet of The Filipino Web Channel that's available for free viewing on YouTube and Vimeo. Except that this one is devoted to news and current events in Filipino neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada.


From reports made available to this reporter, the organizers of community festivals in Toronto under the umbrella of the Philippine Independence Day Council, have turned to Kapamilya for co-sponsorship of the festivities slated this year.


What a "sponsorship" entails in revenues was a question nobody wants to answer.


Last year, in July 2010, celebrations billed under the aegis of Mabuhay Festival were co-sponsored by Kapuso. The answer to the question about co-sponsorships may be found in that experience.


PIDC Abandons Pre-eminent Role


PIDC practically abandoned its pre-eminent role by succumbing to the entertainment program provided by Kapuso. What was supposed to be a wholesome family-oriented celebration of Philippine independence had been turned into an endless entertainment fare involving sex actors and a retinue of gyrating young women.


A good example was Katrina Halili, the femme fatale whose sexual congress with her lover Hayden Kho played out for months in cyberspace.


Halili was topbilled by PIDC in the Mabuhay Festival as if she's the epitome of virtue for young Filipino women in Toronto to emulate.


Not content with that, she was partnered -- to provide a balance -- with the chest-thumping entertainment macho, a certain Wendell Ramos, who had disrobed his top apparently because he could not resist the chanting crowds of drooling matrons. 


As soon as he took off his shirt, the crowd roared, no doubt to the orgasmic delight of screaming fans. There were whispers for Katrina to do the same, meaning to strip.


Was that "wholesome" entertainment worthy of the community's money and attention. What's the cultural aspect of it, other than to show a fetish for the flesh?


So what's in store for the Filipino community of Toronto this year?


For sure, family-oriented fests designed to unify every Filipino would take a back seat in favor of shows prepared by the networks. So it's essentially a Kapuso or Kapamilya show geared towards promoting their networks through a parade of stars. The unstated target is the Filipino purse.


Kapuso's point man in Toronto, Rosemer Enverga, refused to answer questions from this reporter, citing what she calls "sensitivity of my position as GMA Pinoy TV consultant".


Enverga also explained the same "sensitivity" applies to her husband, Tobias "Jun" Enverga, who was recently elected as a trustee of the Toronto Catholic School Board.


The Envergas are active community volunteers before they took on their new jobs at the beginning of the year.


ABS CBN's The Filipino Channel has not responded, either, to queries. The network's representative in Toronto referred this reporter's questions to its head office in the Philippines.


But the extent of the proxy wars already seems apparent in the local media.


Veteran journalist Tenny Soriano was admonished by his editor and publisher in Balita newspaper to rewrite his column after managing editor Tess Cusipag apparently saw the name of Rosemer Enverga mentioned in passing.


Soriano was furious. "This is curtailment of press freedom!" he cried. "Let's see what the Philippine Press Club Ontario will do with this issue of press freedom".


Tess Cusipag, who by profession is a teacher, has mostly inherited the job of husband Ruben Cusipag – a hard-hitting journalist from way back in the Philippines – after he figured in an accident. She now calls the shots at Balita newspaper.


"We have made a commitment that GMA/Rosemer Enverga's project will not be mentioned at all in Balita," Tess Cusipag wrote to Soriano rejecting his article.


"We took the stand that Rosemer's project does not exist at all as far as we are concern (sic) and that PIDC will only be the project to watch out for in the Summer," she stated, clarifying an "arrangement" her paper has with ABS CBN and Philippine Independence Day Council, the organizer of the festivities.


"Sorry, it is a commitment and I can not practice fair reporting at this time," Tess Cusipag explained.


One of the questions asked of organizer PIDC president Minda Neri was the amount of money the organization stands to gain from the ABS CBN-TFC/Kapamilya sponsorship. A request for a copy of PIDC's financial statement has not been answered.


Neri has remained tight-lipped about the many issues swirling around PIDC, even refusing to respond to criticisms that she's inexperienced and incompetent in handling community affairs of the magnitude of PIDC-generated events.


Sought last year for comments about the appearance of sex star Katrina Halili and the strip act of Wendell Ramos at the Mabuhay Festival under PIDC, Neri simply went quiet, never acknowledging that legitimate questions were being asked to enlighten the public.


PIDC itself is caught in a maelstrom, some triggered by Neri's alleged ineffectual leadership, some by the lack of transparency and some by widespread disappointment over perceived personal agendas being pursued by those in leadership positions.


R eports reaching this reporter said at least a dozen officers of PIDC resigned their positions in recent weeks owing to a growing dissatisfaction with the leadership. The number included Rosemer Enverga who opted out as vice president internal owing to a perceived conflict of interest.


Rafael Nebres, until early this month president of the 200-member Philippine Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that he quit PIDC and his group (the chamber) let go from PIDC.


"They (PIDC) want to manage the trade show, which the chamber has been doing in the last five years as a component of the festival," he said in an interview.


"As far as I know," Nebres explained, "PIDC likes to get all the financial benefits". Though he did not elaborate on the benefits, he indicated they were substantial.


PIDC has not made an accounting of its financial and community activities in the last year, at least, a fact that could have sparked the mass resignations.


A list provided by sources showed 16 individuals who have resigned. A certain Estring Aguinaldo whose name appears in the list explained that she "did not resign from PIDC and I am proud to be involved with PIDC".


Aguinaldo was being sought for comment. When furnished with the questions, she apparently blew her top.


Her unexpurgated comment:  "Let us not destroy the Filipino community by doing this kind of interrogation to different people. All of us are working so hard to keep the community be known in this country in a good way and not in a bad way. Lets keep it that way".


A Mr. Tony Tarungan claimed: "This is the first time in the Filipino Community that a large number of officers have resigned in one organization under the leadership of Minda Nerie (sic)".


Based on the unverified list, those who quit included: Bernard Sychangco, Jim Marasigan, Josie Consunhi, Pors Canlas, Romy Rafael, Ben Ferrer, Ethel Stewart, Leone Manzanares, Jojo Rodrigues, Bing Marasigan, Sheila Canazares, Zena Flores and  Benny Dision. # # #


(© Copyright by Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Volume 5, Issue no. 3, January 25, 2011. E-mail:, or


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