Alberta is home to the third biggest population of Filipino Canadians after Ontario and British Columbia. Photo from online petition

The Edmonton-based Philippine Arts Council has initiated an online petition asking the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to designate a Filipino Heritage Month. According to the petition, June is the appropriate month for such a declaration.

 “June is the most significant time for a Philippine Heritage Month as the Philippine diaspora worldwide commemorate and celebrate the June 12, 1898 official declaration of independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule,” the petition states.

Ida Beltran-Lucila, executive director of the Philippine Arts Council, noted via email to Canadian Filipino Net that there has been a considerable growth of the Filipino population in Alberta.

“The declaration will serve as recognition of Filipinos’ presence and contribution in the province,” Beltran-Lucila wrote. “It will also pave the way for concerted and strategic efforts and initiatives in promoting, understanding and reflecting on Philippine history, traditions, values and identity - important aspects for Filipinos uprooted from their home country, for those of Filipino-descent born and raised in Canada, and over-all Canadian society.”

The petition noted that Alberta is a major destination for new Filipino immigrants.

It noted that based on the 2016 Census, the number of Filipinos in Alberta has grown to 166,195, third only to Ontario and British Columbia.

In June this year, the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario will mark the first celebration of Filipino Heritage Month.

The City of Toronto designated June as Filipino Heritage Month in a November 2017 decision, becoming the first government in Canada to do so.

There are pending proposals before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month in the province.

A motion seeking a Canada-wide designation has been filed with the House of Commons by federal Liberal MP Salma Zahid of Scarborough Centre in Ontario.

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