May 25, 2024

Citizen Leni Robredo continues to champion marginalized Filipinos as chair of Angat Buhay, a not-for-profit organization founded a day after Robredo finished her term as Philippine Vice President.

(Editor’s note: at the end of each year, CFNet reviews all the articles it has published and selects for its yearend review articles that were most read, most liked or had the most impact.)

When year 2021 was closing, the frenzy that made headlines in the Philippines and in any other country where Filipinos reside, was the Philippine national election in May 2022. Canadian Filipino Net (CFNet) itself ended the year with the start of a five-part series on the leading presidential candidates beginning in November 2021 with the facts and figures around now president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Closing the year 2021 wereLoving Leni Robredo in December accompanied by an article on fund-raising efforts by Filipinos in Vancouver – both of which were two of the most read articles of 2021.

Another piece that garnered thousands of hits was CFNet’s editorial in May 2022 on the many reasons why Leni Robredo ought to be elected president.

CFNet opened 2022 with the rest of the five-part presidentiables series: Senator Panfilo Lacsonand second-time presidential candidate was featured in January, Manila Mayor Isko Morenoin February, and Senator Manny Pacquiao, a former professional boxer,in March. CFNet also reminded readers how every vote, whether in-person or absentee, matters when ensuring the survival of democracy.

Despite the pink phenomenon that was Leni Robredo’s signature campaign colour that proliferated in campaigns throughout the country as shown in both social and traditional media, the son and namesake of the dictator won as Philippine president in an election process that proved that lightning-speed internet service can be had in the Philippines if only to provide official election results in favour of the Marcos-Duterte partnership.

But despite the polarization that the May 2022 elections brought, Canadian Filipinos are proof positive that resiliency and the “can do” spirit run through their veins.

In the field of arts, the film “Scarborough” whose story and screenplay were written by Catherine Hernandez was nominated and eventually won major honours at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards. Canadian Filipino theatre director Nina Lee Aquinowas appointed artistic director of Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) English Theatre in August.

In Canadian government, Dr. Gigi Osler who contributed to CFNet during its early years now holds the distinction of being the first Canadian Filipino woman senator appointed to the Red Chamber. Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, CFNet’s regular columnist on matters health in general and the pandemic in particular, is the first Canadian Filipino elected as Member of Parliament while Rechie Valdez is the first female Canadian Filipino MP elected in 2021. In recognition of Dr. Pagtakhan’s contribution to not just Filipino communities across Canada but to Canada as a whole, a public park in the city of Winnipeg was named after him in June.

Another “first” among Canadian Filipinos is the appointment of Fr. Dino Villadiego as rector to Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia, one of largest Catholic churches in Western Canada.

Collectively, hardworking Filipinos posted the highest employment rate as evidenced by a Statistics Canada report released in April.

Sadly, 2022 also saw the passing of two pillars of Canadian Filipino communities: Leonardo “Ding” Cunanan and Paulina Corpuz.

Ding Cunanan was editor of Vancouver-based community directoryDahong Pilipino and a staunch supporter of CFNet. At the culmination of his journalistic career, Ding was also appointed as a member of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.

Paulina Corpuz’s untimely passing at age 59 in November came as a shock to Canadian Filipino communities particularly in Toronto. Corpuz was a major mover and shaker in the efforts that led to the declaration of June as Filipino Canadian Heritage Month in Canada. Her community organizing and social advocacy roots began in the Philippines and continued in 1993 when she moved to Canada to join her husband Ben.

As we bid farewell to 2022 and welcome the unknown in 2023, we urge our readers to watch out for more exciting news from CFNet in the form of a book dubbed Indomitable Canadian Filipinos slated for release in early 2023. Keep reading!

About the Author
Rachel Ramos-Reid started writing for magazines and newspapers when she was still a junior at the University of the Philippines’ Communication degree program majoring in Journalism. She continued to write in a public relations/corporate communications capacity in various private and government offices until moving out of the country in 1997 to work as Programme Officer for the arts and culture branch of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO-SPAFA) in Bangkok, Thailand. At the end of her term, Rachel found herself immigrating to Canada in the year 2000 and again searching for new beginnings. Currently she is the Executive Assistant to the North Island College’s Board of Governors in a part-time capacity.

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