As Parliamentary Secretary Anti-Racism Initiatives, I issued the following statement on June 1, 2023:
“June is Filipino Heritage Month and an opportunity to learn about Filipino culture and the unique contributions that this quickly growing community has brought to B.C.
“It is my honour to be B.C.’s first Filipino MLA. I stand on the shoulders of the many remarkable Filipino British Columbians who came before me and helped make B.C. the diverse and vibrant province we know today.
“The first migrant Filipinos came to B.C. in the late 1800s. Many were sailors who travelled from the Philippines and settled in New Westminster, then the capital of the new colony of British Columbia.
“Today, there are approximately 174,000 people of Filipino descent living in B.C. and Vancouver is home to the second largest Filipino community in Canada.
“However, many British Columbians of Filipino descent report feeling disadvantaged in multiple aspects of their lives. Almost one-third of Filipino women, for example, work in health care and the social-services sector, which means they were front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we applaud their dedication in the care of others, we must also recognize that the result is Filipino women are disproportionately at higher risk than other groups of contracting communicable diseases while on the job.
“Our government will continue to tackle racism by legislating race-based data collection through the Anti-Racism Data Act and by addressing systemic racism in its programs and services by introducing broader anti-racism legislation in 2024.
“Our schools are also making important changes to help fight racism and discrimination. Earlier this year, we launched the K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan, putting tools and resources into the hands of parents, teachers and students to better equip them to be active agents of change in their communities.
“A project I’m especially excited about is the Filipino cultural centre, which I’ve been advocating for since I was first elected in 2009, and which is included in my mandate letter as Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. In April, government announced that it’s providing $250,000 to support public engagement for a Filipino cultural centre. This new centre promises to be a lasting legacy of the deep roots the Filipino community has in this province since first arriving over 160 years ago.
“Filipino Heritage Month is a time to honour all the ways that people of Filipino descent enrich and contribute to making B.C. a vibrant place for all people to enjoy.”
For information about Filipino Canadian History, visit https://explorasian.org/learn/education/filipino-canadian/