JdV on climate change/ Henry Gozon at 75
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2014 - 12:00am

The call for climate change is a priority among leaders of nations. And that is right. The world is caving in from man-made and natural disasters, and unless there is a joint global effort to mitigate the causes of climate change, there’s no other way for us to go than perish.

Climate change was one of the concerns taken up by former Speaker Jose de Venecia in his statement at the 5th joint session of the International Conference of Asia Political Parties (ICAPP) standing committee and the Conferencia Permanente de Paridos Politicos de America y el Caribe (COPPPAL) coordinating body, in Mexico City. De Venecia is founding chair of ICAPP and president of Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI).

De Venecia said that at ICAPP and COPPAL, the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI) and the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO), under Director General Jiang Mingjun, have established the Global Parties Climate and Ecological Alliance (GPCA) as “a global front in the battle against climate change, environmental degradation, and ecological crisis.

“With the establishment of GPCA and its registration completed in New York City, our political parties under ICAPP and COPPPAL, and civil society affiliates CAPDI and IESCO, hope to play  a modest role in fighting climate change. Already, the UN Alliance of Civilizations has designated IESCO as its climate change partner, following ICAPP and COPPAL’s designation of IESCO as their respective climate change committee.

Said de Venecia: “We hope to be joined shortly by the newly-formed Council of African Political Parties (CAPP) in the envisioned larger international political parties alliance and perhaps, step by step, eventually extend an invitation to the North American and European political parties to forge a truly global “united front” in the battle against climate change, poverty, inequality and tremendous gaps between rich and poor, violent extremism, religious conflict, ignorance, and diseases like AIDS and Ebola.”

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 Felipe “Henry” L. Gozon, president and CEO of GMA Television Network, celebrated his 75th birthday with a bang, with, so far, one of the nicest parties held at the Manila Polo Club last week. Stringed brilliants hang from the ceiling; the furniture dazzled with silver motifs, food was aplenty, lady musicians played violins at four corners of the hall, emcees Mike Enriquez  and Donita Rose tickled the audience with their antics, Lani Misalucha was just fantastic, Regine Velasquez sweet, Dulce amazing, and the Four Tenors captivating. But of course, the eye-catchers were the guests: Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Tito  Sotto and their spouses; Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and son Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte,  former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Philippine STAR’s  Babe Romualdez; Menardo Jimenez, one of the richest Filipinos and brother-in-law of Henry;   SM Foundation president Tessie Sy-Coson,  Rep. Martin Romualdez of Lakas and said to be running for the Senate in 2016, lawyers and businessmen and selected media persons.

Henry always gets what he wants, and on the night of his celebration,  Typhoon Ruby, expected to hit Manila that evening, did not come – one of God’s gifts to him?

Launched at the party was Henry’s autobiography which Henry wrote himself.  The book is about how GMA Network became No. 1, the ups and downs in running a competitive industry. It  also talks about  the exploits of the dashing young Henry, one of the first in  the country to own and drive a Jaguar.

A video showed facets of the lawyer’s life. He was born as the second boy in a family of four children to former Bureau of Mines director and DAR secretary  Ben Gozon, and Arling Lapus Gozon,  an amazing  entrepreneur. Very encouraging was the emphasis on his being a faithful husband to Tessie Manotok of Gagalangin, Tondo, a loving father to children Annette Abrogar (a lawyer), Maritess Viterbo (a medical doctor), and son Philip, also a lawyer, and  a doting grandfather to six kids. Sisters Key Jimenez and Flor Tarriela spoke about their  diligent, hard-working, and lovable brother. Henry said his children called him “king,” as maybe they could not say otherwise. (Laughter all around.) Philip said his dad was strict, “but he was really a teddy bear by heart.” I think it was Annette who said her dad “may not always be right, but he is never wrong.” (Laughter all around.)

A good read, the book is published by Vibal Foundation, Inc.

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Connecting Two Cultures, a work of labor and love of Renato Perdon, records the historical and contemporary interactions and strong connections between the Philippines and Australia. The book was launched at simple ceremonies at the National Historical Commission last week with Australian Ambassador William “Bill” Tweddell as guest of honor.

Perdon, who has been living in Australia for several decades, observed that many Filipinos who receive overseas training and study in Australia, and thus strengthening the linkages between the two countries, have been “immensely underecognised.” Accordingly, he ventured into documenting the beginning, development and strengthening of bonds between the two countries, his main focus being on how Filipino-Australians began to look at the country Down Under “to seek a future and expand their horizons.”

The book travels down the past from the time the Philippines was linked to Australia through the historic voyage of Luis Vaez de Torres in 1606 and the reports he made in Manila while waiting for his onward return travel to Spain to finally make a personal report to the Spanish King. That important historic event and the early linkages are covered by Perdon, including the pre-history of both countries and as each developed into colonies of European countries. Succeeding events that occurred between the two countries, linking them through activities by individual citizens from that period onward, provide interesting insight into how the identity of Filipino-Australians evolved and at the same time contributed greatly to a strong relationship between the two countries.

Today there are 300,000 Filipino migrants in Australia,  according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Many of them have assumed a dual Filipino-Australian identity. Perdon, one of them, says he is “satisfied with living in Australia.”

Perdon’s connection with Australia began when he was sent to Australia in the late 1970s by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, under the auspices of a bilateral arrangement between the two countries. Down Under, he undertook nine months of apprenticeship in the field of cultural conservation and restoration, then for another three years, pursued  two postgraduate diplomas in the field of museum and archives administration. Years later he  decided to have a  Filipino-Australian dual identity.

A new Filipino-Australian  identity has appeared, Perdon says. “These Pinoys call Australia their home, and regard the Philippines as a country they visit for nostalgic reasons, kindred connections or historic sentiment. . . The vibrant connections between Australia and the Philippines continue to develop, illustrated by the narrative of events and experiences of the people of the two counties discussed in various parts of the book.”

Dr. Maria Serina I. Diokno, chair, NHCP, comments on the book: “The history of Philippine-Australian relations is hardly written about, and given the size of the Filipino Australian community today, such a history would be relevant. Renato Perdon’s work is an important step in understanding this little known aspect about our past.”

The well-written book has been selected to receive this year’s Migrant Advisory and Media Awards under the best book category by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Copies may be secured from the National Bookstores.

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My e-mail:dominitorrevillas@gmail.com


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