By Rey Fortaleza, founder ReyFort Media Group
The election of local government officials in B.C. is over.
On October 20, voters chose who will represent them in city councils and school boards, and in the case of Vancouver, additional representation in park board.
While results for Filipino Canadian candidates were not what was hoped for by the community, they all deserve our praise and continuing encouragement.
It was a good fight, and we should all salute their valiant efforts.
Except for Edwin Empinado, who won another term in the council of Kitimat, the other candidates did not fare well.
They include the adopted son of the Filipino community, Hector Bremner, a Vancouver city councilor who ran for mayor. He is married to Virginia Austria Bremner, whose family traces its roots from Pangasinan.
Kudos as well to Rod Belleza, who ran for school board in Richmond; Isabelo ‘Behl’ Evangelista, school board, District of North Vancouver; Franciso ‘Jojo’ Quimpo, council, Vancouver; Rustum ‘Tommy’ Raguero, council, Port Coquitlam; Erlinda ‘Neneng’ Galanto; Cyrus Sy, school board, New Westminster; and Joe Muego, school board, Delta.
The participation of Filipino Canadian candidates is an achievement in itself.
By actively joining in the electoral life of their respective cities, candidates, as well as their supporters and volunteers, gain valuable experience.
Not only do candidates and their respective organizations learn, but their experiences will also provide lessons for a new generation of candidates.
Last October 9, ReyFort Media Group had the privilege of getting most of the candidates together for a first of its kind forum among Filipino Canadian political aspirants.
We hope that this kind of gathering will lead to more conversations about political participation by members of the community.
Also, I and the rest of ReyFort Media Group are eager to see Filipino Canadian politicians initiate activities in between elections so they can actively listen to the many concerns among members of the community.
By engaging the community outside election campaign periods, politicians will be able to help in channeling the electoral strength of Filipino Canadians, which has yet to be fully tapped and exercised to its full potential.