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The PhilippineCanadianTimes






Jose P. Rizal, Philippine National Hero
By: Marcial Q. Aranas
(Speech on "Rizal the Hero" at the Rizal Day Centennial Celebrations in Edmonton and on the Pre-launching of the Philippine Centennial)

I would like to begin with a little history so I could give you some information in the observance of this occasion, Rizal Day, intertwined with a Pre-Launch of the Centennial celebration of the Philippine Independence. Many Filipinos are ardent students of Philippine history. We know that General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 at Kawit, Cavite. It was a historic day. The Filipino flag was unfurled and hoisted for the first time to the tune and rhythm of the National Anthem. waving so proudly under a blue sky, it signalled and proclaimed to the world the birth of an independent Filipino nation.

We are gathered here tonight to pre-launch, to celebrate and signal the 1998 Centennary of the Philippine Independence and at the same time to honor the Philippines' national hero, Jose P. Rizal. We as Canadians of Filipino origin should remember Rizal's martyrdom at Bagumbayan, now Luneta.

Rizal approached reforms through peaceful means. The peerless and genuine hero of the nation, Rizal wrote two powerful books: The Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Noli Mi Tangere which means Touch me Not was finished on February 21, 1887 in Berlin. Rizal meant the things mentioned in the book were so delicate, they cannot be touched by anybody. This book endeavored to answer the calumnies which for centuries have been heaped upon the Filipinos. It described the social conditions, the life, the beliefs, the hopes, desires and the grief of the Filipino people. He brought to light all these through narration of situations in the lives of the characters he wrote about. The situations narrated in the book were true and they actually happened.

Over the years, not many students were dedicated souls and scholars of Rizal. On June 12, 1956, the Congress of the Philippines passed the Rizal Law, Republic Act No. 1425 which awakened greater interest on matters about Rizal. The Law provides that courses on the life, works and writings of Rizal particularly his novels the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo shall be included in the curricula of all schools, colleges and universities.

Rizal is more than the greatest hero of the Filipino people; he is more than the greatest man, the Malayan race has produced; in truth, he is one of the world's greatest personalities. On this momentous occasion, I find it fitting that we of this generation, recall not only our past but also look forward to the present and the future especially in venerating our heroes martyrs and unsung soldiers. On this Rizal Day commemoration and on the eve of the Centennial Celebration, we also keep alive the spirit of those who died in the battlefields and those who struggled in the fields of diplomacy fighting the cause of independence. They all bequeathed to the Filipino nation their exemplary deeds for us to revere and emulate.

(Marcial Aranas is Author of The Dynamics of Filipino Immigrants; member of The Philippine Bar; co-founder of The Council of Filipino Associations)

Rethinking Crime Prevention
By: David Kilgour M.P. Edmonton SouthEast

Despite recent small reductions, the 1995 national crime rate was seven per cent higher than a decade ago. Canadians continue to feel threatened by crime and now spend about $195 million on security. While there are no easy answers to the problem of violence, effective new prevention efforts can curtail crime.
There have been a number of successful experiences around the world with new approaches to crime prevention that could benefit Canada.

In the Netherlands, unemployed people were trained as street monitors, tourist guides or mediators. Results included a decrease in petty crimes, an improved city image and work experience for the unemployed.
In Britain, closed circuit television cameras in public places have cut crime and court costs. Crime fell by 30 per cent in Newcastle, and most of those charged with videotaped crime pleaded guilty, avoiding costly trials.

The '90s have seen a rapid reinvention of how the police do their work, especially in major cities: a change from squad cars to foot patrols; a shift to "pro-active" policing, and cross-agency task forces to target specific problems.
Other alternatives include mandatory community service instead of prison for non-violent criminals, special attention to young offenders, victim restitution, job placement, substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation.
In recent years, sentences given by some U.S. judges have increasingly emphasized humiliation. This shames the criminal and shows moral condemnation in addition to punishment. Shaming is becoming increasingly popular since it cuts imprisonment costs. Scattered evidence suggests that the strategy is effective with juvenile offenders forced to publicly apologize and with adults whose identities are made public for crimes like check kiting, drunken driving or soliciting prostitutes.

However, more research is needed to establish the effectiveness of this alternative and guidelines should be established to discourage judges from idiosyncratic sentences.
The cost of crime to Canadians is staggering: it costs $46 billion a year, including $9.7 billion for the formal justice system and the indirect social cost of crime such as medical, social and employment costs related to crime victims.
Yet it is estimated that Canada spends only $10 million a year on crime prevention. Money spent on crime prevention ought to be seen as an investment, not an expenditure.

In 1994, the National Crime Prevention Council was created as part of the national strategy to reduce crime and the fear of crime. One of the council's major role is to provide advice on crime prevention activities undertaken by all levels of government. Another role is to promote new initiatives, enhance current initiatives and suggest more innovative ways to prevent crime.
This is a tall order for a council whose annual budget is about $2 million. The lack of substantial core funding for prevention activities remains a hindrance in developing and implementing effective anti-crime strategies.
Recently the Chretien government committed $30 million a year for a community-based crime prevention. This is a major step in the right direction to development of effective, comprehensive ad anti-crime strategies.