29 years
Community Service
News Magazine
Operated by couple Eddie Flores and Orquidia Valenzuela
News and Views of the
Filipino Community Worldwide

By Li Eron
July 12, 2017


If I am given an empty paper to write the life of the now Philippine Cabinet Secretary Hon. LEONCIO EVASCO JR., I will probably end up with a book. If I am to read his biography in social media and other credible sources of information on who he is, I will become knowledgeable on his life as a former priest accused of being a communist, someone pushed to the wall and eventually joined the movement, caught, thrown in jail, tortured and prosecuted by the very person he draws the blueprint to become the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines. But one will never know his inner self and his true nature until you come face to face with the man.

His journey towards where he is now is a manifestation of a well orchestrated destiny. His colorful life built in principles and strong convictions is now reaping its success with grandeur. A picture of how doing service to the people you serve looks like. All these narratives of what seems like a tumultuous journey, pales in comparison to the man who come up close and personal with his own people in Canada,  most of them from the province of Bohol, or simply knew him from the news and the members of the community who eagerly met with him everywhere.

When his cousin requested me to help augment his visit and give him media exposure, although I am simply a speck in the eyes of the world, I did not say no.  To me, this is a massive opportunity to know and hear from the mouth of someone directly involved with the process of making my ancestral country, better.

The Philippine Cabinet Secretary for a visit? For a writer, who always want a story to inspire, to inform, to share, I was up for it. So the Secretary's cousin and I burnt wires and internet connections to ensure his visit was fruitful. We worked behind the scenes; him from within the borders between B.C. and Alberta updating me on details, and me from the obscurity of my private room in Durham Region firing sporadic postings in social media about the Secretary's forthcoming visit.

Chelsea Hotel Toronto
Ontario, Canada

The Churchill  Ballroom at Chelsea Hotel Toronto was already in full swing and guests were already full of energy as the Awardee and Family evening event  of the Conbusac 17th Biennial Congress hosted by Boholano Association of Canada unfolded. I knew what time he was expected to arrive. Early in the evening, the first Filipino-Canadian Senator Tobias Enverga Jr. with wife Rosemer came and met with the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York. Also seated on the same table was the entourage of the Governor of Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto whose wife is the mayor of the town of Balilihan.

I was keeping an eye, as Senator Enverga Jr. has to wait for the Cabinet Secretary to arrive at the hotel. Then sometime later, a tall man was mingling on the VIP table, wearing jeans and a green tee. The Philippine Cabinet Secretary Hon. Leoncio Evasco Jr. has arrived at Chelsea Hotel where eager guests were coming up to him for the notorious selfie moments.

I found the Secretary very polite with a ready smile to those who came to greet him. Soft spoken and had an aura of humility. There was not a hint of his magnitude as the Philippine President's point man and Cabinet Secretary.

Chelsea Hotel Toronto, July 9th 2017

The press conference at Chelsea Hotel was meant to be quick and informal. Despite the unofficial status of his visit, Secretary Evasco allowed himself to meet the local media in Toronto to answer questions. I am brainwashed by the concept of social media and find it very effective than the ones where coffee and snacks are serve and formalities play centerstage. Not this one and I detest spending a dime for the media because in the real sense, our focal point to have him in the rooms  are the updates he was giving us. Media, by heart, are there to hear him and ask him.

The venue of the press con was just supposedly anywhere in the lobby.  Chelsea Hotel's Day Manager, Mr. Eric Frenzel, Director of Banquets, however, graciously provided us with a room big enough to accommodate everyone present. The Consul-General of Toronto, extended help in inviting the media.

The Cabinet Secretary Hon. Leoncio Evasco Jr. was joined  by the Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Petronila P.Garcia and the Consul-General of Toronto, Rosalita Prospero. The Press Conference went well and I'm sure members of the press who attended will run their own stories about their encounter with the Secretary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario who were present, particularly its president, Rose Tijam and Mr. Jojo Taduran, who have been most supportive.

The CONBUSAC Gala Night
Chelsea Hotel Toronto, July 8, 2017

This was why he came...to join his fellow Boholanos celebrating CONBUSAC 17th Biennial Congress hosted by the Boholano Association of Canada. The Confederation of Boholanos of USA-Canada (CONBUSAC) has been helping Bohol on various projects alleviating the lives of the poor. They've been a source of strength during the times when calamities befall the province.

The Cabinet Secretary was the honoured guest that evening, joined by the Governor of Bohol with his wife, the mayor of the town of Balilihan, Bohol,  the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Bernardino Auza and many others.

The Cabinet Secretary gave the Boholanos an update on what was happening in the Philippines, the way Boholanos speak with each other. He is a towering person, physically tall, and yet his humility and humbleness resonated throughout the room. He had a fatherly charm and knew how to light up everyone's faces as he recalled his past life. He comfortably mingled with fellow Boholanos who were excited to meet him, before and after the event.

Ottawa, Canada- July 10, 2017

Eleven of us went with the Philippine Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. and his wife,  to Ottawa for a visit hosted by the first Filipino-Canadian Senator Tobias Enverga Jr. with his wife Rosemer Enverga.

Senator Enverga's Senate Office is big enough to accommodate a couple of guests. The Secretary and his wife had a very pleasant and relaxed visit with the Senator and his wife. The Secretary and party were then toured inside the Senate Chamber where the Senator walked them through the Senate formalities of how things are done, in briefs.

The Cabinet Secretary and his wife were really enthusiastic of the tour at the Parliament. Senator Enverga Jr. took the party to the House of Commons to have glimpse of where the Prime Minister does his business.  I can see the inquisitiveness of the Secretary because Parliamentary kind of government, similar to Canada, is what the Duterte government is campaigning for the Philippines.

Senator Tobias Enverga Jr. and his wife were the excellent hosts to the visiting Philippine Cabinet Secretary and his wife, their countrymen.

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