“I was proud to be the first B.C. Premier to officially visit the Philippines. It is a beautiful country with wonderful and welcoming people,” said Premier Clark.
“We are so lucky to have so many Filipinos who make B.C. their home, and our communities are richer and more dynamic because of their contributions. I’m proud to recognize and celebrate the 114th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day.”
Premier Clark recently returned from a Jobs and Trade Mission that included a visit to the Philippines, where she signed a Joint Communiqué on Labour Mobility, and highlighted the tremendous opportunities and economic partnerships available in British Columbia, such as the new, made-in-B.C. clean-energy facility to be built in the city of Mactan in Cebu Province.
While in the Philippines, Premier Clark attended a Jobs Fair to help connect B.C. employers with recruitment agencies and educational institutions to help fill skilled-worker vacancies in the province. She also met with Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Albert Del Rosario, to promote British Columbia’s labour market and emphasize strong cultural ties with the Philippines.
“Our first priority is always to find employment for British Columbians, but with so many jobs to fill in the next decade, we know that new immigrants will be key to maintaining the growth of our economy, and we know the Filipino community in B.C. is a critical element of that growth” said Premier Clark.
At the celebrations in Vancouver’s Slocan park, Clark told the crowd “In my heart, I am Filipino.”
Consul General Ampeso, who leads the Independence Day organizing group alongside Tomas “Tatay Tom” Avendano, CEO of the Multicultural Helping Hand Society (MHHS), said the key message behind these activities is that despite their growing numbers and diversity, Filipinos in the region are capable of uniting and working together behind common causes.
“When the community leaders came to us with this idea of getting together to celebrate Philippine independence under the leadership of the Consulate, we thought it was a worthwhile initiative we could not ignore, and that it would be a privilege for us to lead,” he said.
Meanwhile, Historama, a trailblazing music-and-dance presentation featuring artistic re-enactments of major events in Philippine history, from the peopling of the archipelago to the various colonial conquests to the present-day Philippines was held yesterday.
Carmelita Tapia, Filipino culture advocate who steers the Historama creative committee, said the show has generated a lot of excitement, and will surely be appreciated by Filipino-Canadian youths curious to learn more about their Filipino heritage.
Philippine Labor Attache Bernie Julve, who penned the show’s script, is similarly enthused. “It is hoped that through this innovative way of presentation, the audience, particularly those born and raised in Canada of Filipino descent, will have a clear understanding of the history, culture, tradition, the national psyche and aspirations of the Filipino people,” he said.