Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ponte and Laoagan

For immediate release

February 8, 2008

Candlelight vigil mass in Montreal commemorates the deaths of two Filipino victims of violence

(Montreal, QC) In response to the deaths of two Filipino victims of violence who came under the LCP, Kabataang Montreal (KM) gathered the Filipino community yesterday for a solemn candlelight vigil mass in memory of Deeward Ponte and Arcelie Laoagan. The ceremony was held at St. Kevin's Church in Côte-des-Neiges, Quebec with 50 people in attendance.

"For any Filipino youth, it is hard to lose a brother or a friend. But, for a mother it is even more difficult to lose a son. All Mrs. Ponte wanted was to be with her children and raise them in a safe and peaceful environment in Canada," said Jhastine Arana of KM-FCYA.

The LCP is a temporary worker program which requires mostly Filipino women to work 24 months within a three year time period in order to apply for Canadian permanent residency. While working under this program, live-in caregivers take care of Canada’s young, elderly, and disabled earning minimum wage with long hours and usually no overtime pay.

"Because of the policies of the LCP, families are getting shattered, and family separation becomes the ultimate price for survival," says Roderick Carreon, national chairperson SIKLAB Canada. He goes on to add, "we condemn the senseless loss of one of our youth who was taken away from us at a very young age."

Kabataang Montreal is a Montreal Filipino youth organization and local chapter of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance (UKPC/FCYA). This national alliance of Filipino youth organizations has summoned a national day of action on February 8, 2008 for overseas Filipino victims of violence, and to heighten the call for scrapping the LCP. Vigils will also be held in Vancouver and Toronto.

“When praying for the Laoagan and Ponte families, also include in your prayers that we unite our community and work together for a society that is safe and dignified for all,” asked Josie Caro, Board Member of the Philippine Women Centre of Quebec.

For more information, please contact:

Neil Kastro at Kapit Bisig Centre, ph: 514-678-3901 or e-mail: kabataang_montreal


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