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DAS-LETTER (August 2021)

Diaryo Alberta has morphed from print to e-paper many months ago. The pandemic reconfigured it to a more relevant, sensible and easy access format for all stakeholders. Published monthly, DAS-LETTER is the reimagined and re-energized version of Diaryo Alberta with the same vision and mandate in a newsletter format,

“Show me a family (community) of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” - Napoléon Bonaparte

Just saying, folks!

Urban Dictionary defines Just Saying as 1) a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we've made---in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we've said is true. 2) There is an obvious implication of what I just said, but I formally disavow that implication, although I actually believe it. 3) "Just saying" is a nice way of saying, "you're a dumbass"

Just Saying primary goal is to stir our community to engage into more productive, creative sensible and relevant endeavors.

To elevate our leaders’ credibility, respectability, and believability we need to subject them to “just saying” test.

Noli Me Tangere

Both sides of Highway 93 from Calgary to Radium are sprinkled with various scenic spots for travellers to enjoy. Creeks, ponds, cliffs, trails, waterfalls, etc. compete for the attention of visitors and explorers. Selfies and real time FB postings are never ending.

Interestingly, within a span of 86 kilometers on that highway two waterfalls beg for attention, Tatakaw and Numa. Comparatively, Numa is just like a bust in size while Tatakaw towers like a monument. The same elements of beauty, though, are present – mountain backdrop, falling water, a flowing hum, and cooling mist. Nature’s workmanship and beauty are unparalleled. Perfectly spaced, visitors have all the reason to stop by for a quick selfie, snack, and bio break.

Roughly 20 minutes or the 35-kilometer drive from Calgary to Airdrie is just a warmup. No need for a restroom or stop over. For Filipino-Canadians visiting these two Cities, two interesting new spots are in the making. A bust (in Airdrie) and monument (in Calgary) of Philippines’ National Hero, Jose Rizal.

On the surface these initiatives are uniquely interesting on many fronts. First, quite possibly first of its kind in the world – two, a monument and a bust of a non-Canadian hero will be erected 35 kilometers apart. Second, the bust in Airdrie was endorsed by the Office of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG). Whereas Calgary’s was initiated by a local group. Third, names of donors and sponsors of both the bust and monument will be properly acknowledged. Fourth, the craftsmanship of the creators of both tributes will be imported and featured. Fifth, the premise behind these erections is the opportunity for fellow Filipinos to commemorate and show pride for the motherland by visiting the bust or monument of their beloved hero.

Photo credit Jason Kenny FB

Underneath, however, are questions and observations begging to be spoken and answered. One, Calgary is the Philippine Government’s (PCG) official seat in this part of Canada. Why erect a bust in Airdrie? Two, was the idea of a monument in Calgary never discussed with PCG by the other group? Three, monuments of Canadian pioneers, influencers, leaders, etc. are being defaced or cancelled. Why erect two in Alberta of a non-Canadian hero? Fourth, this 35 km fissure may put the Filipino community’s pride, credibility, and unity in question. Finally, have you heard any politician talk about how they can help the Filipino community unite during the ground-breaking ceremonies of the two sites?

Why do you think Dr. Jose Rizal penned "Noli Me Tangere" ("Touch Me Not" or "The Social Cancer") and "El Filibusterismo" ("The Reign of Greed")?

One of the worst leaders?

Pete comes to our office everyday to sanitize tables, doorknobs, counters, light switches, etc.

One Monday morning, he confirmed if I was from the Philippines. I said yes with pride! Then he informed me that Philippine’s president is one of the worst world leaders. I inquired which fake news outlet that info came from. He watched it from YouTube the night before.

Sad, but he said, “just saying”.

Bust or monument?

Confusion engulfed the Filipino community in Alberta. Two groups posted in their FB of their plan to erect Jose Rizal monument or bust. One in Airdrie and one in Calgary. Goal is identical. The idea was three years in the making, the Calgary group (CG) proclaimed. The Airdrie group (AG) was endorsed by the Philippine Consulate General Office in Calgary.

Back to Pete’s discovery about world leaders, true or not, I felt shameful. In Alberta, what the heck is going on with our community leaders and officials? PCG official seat is in Calgary, but the ground-breaking of the monument on June 19, 2021, was held at Nose Creek Regional Park in Airdrie, Alberta. In attendance were Airdrie local officials and community leaders. A week later the CG had their ground-breaking ceremony in Prairie Wind Park in Calgary attended by provincial and municipal leaders and politicians.

These bizarre ground-breaking ceremonies displayed some of the unpleasant characters of Filipino Canadian officials, leaders, and the community at large. The implications are clear. For one, PCG’s relationship with the City of Calgary is in question. Why endorse a bust in Airdrie and not in Calgary? Second, for the CG why was the office of PCG neither involved nor invited? Third, is the community lacking seasoned and reasonable elders to point out this absurdity? Fourth, most likely for Filipino Canadians visiting Alberta – what is the point of visiting two monuments of the same hero less than 36 kms away? Finally, possibly erecting a bust or monument of the late hero is one of the ways to showcase some of the Filipino leaders’ vanity.

“Bust or monument of a hero is inspiring. Erecting the same hero’s memory 35 kms apart is ridiculous and disgusting” Just saying!