Revisiting Canada

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On the invitation of Carl Benito, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Alberta Province and Tony Meloto, Gawad Kalinga (GK) founder, our RPDEV Foundation ventured back to Canada last June 29 to July 5 to do fund-raising events for GK – the second time in six months. In late October, 2008, which was already a time of wintry weather, RPDEV did a series of fund-raisers in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia.In between, last March, we devoted time and effort to help launch, groundbreak and “initial-build” the first phase of a GK Eco-Village in Barangay Lucap, Alaminos City, for 100 homeless fisherfolk families funded partially by $50,000 we earlier raised at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China.All these GK-related activities we have been happy to become involved in – for a good cause. Already, thousands of Pinoys and Pinays around the world have volunteered time, sweat, expertise, funds and other assets thru GK to build homes, friendly neighborhoods, and healthy environments, as well as provide scholarships, in poor communities in the Philippines.Surely, the most commendable collective effort in the recent past was the GK Summit in Boston last June 12 as part of the celebration of Philippine Independence Day which was enhanced by a star-studded group of speakers of the likes of Vice President Noli de Castro, and Senators Migz Zubiri and Kiko Pangilinan.Canada and the Philippines Manila Bulletin reported the celebration of Canada’s National Day last July 1 with a special supplement. Canada observes its National Day on the anniversary of “The Confederation,” an event that led to the union of three British North American colonies in 1867 to form the original Canada as one nation of four provinces.The name “Canada” comes from an indigenous Iroquois word for “village” or “community.” Today, Canada consists of 10 provinces and three territories, and is the world’s second largest country in land area, after the Russian Federation.Its relatively small and diverse population of 35 million is extremely patriotic, and proud of its heroic military traditions derived from their War of Independence against the British, and valiant participation in two World Wars, the Korean War and, today, in UN peacekeeping activities and as part of the NATO combat forces in Afghanistan.There are over 450,000 immigrants, citizens and workers of Philippine origin who have made Canada their home. The Philippines is the third largest source of immigrants to Canada, with 10,000 to 15,000 new arrivals each year. There are also approximately 7,500 Canadians residing in the Philippines. This has contributed to the development of strong people-to-people linkages between Canada and the Philippines, and the enhancement of our economic, security, cultural and intellectual ties.Canada has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, notably the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics, the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. In 2010, Canada will be the repeat host-country for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver-Whistler, BC.Focus on Mindanao, ASEAN and APEC Canada has consistently supported major Philippine Government programs through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). For the past 15 years, CIDA has extended some USD 300 million worth of assistance to the Philippines.Annually, more than 60 percent of the CIDA’s aid is channeled to Mindanao, focusing on social development, good governance, and private business sector expansion.Bilateral relations between our two countries are consistently warm and friendly, and marked by close cooperation in a variety of fields, particularly in trade, investment, tourism, intellectual exchange, peace-making, and respect for the rule of law and human rights. Canada also provides strategic assistance to facilitate civil society preparations for elections, and supports training in security activities. …