Jul 15, 2024

Like many immigrants, Antonio Villarin did temporary jobs before he was able to practice law.

With a promise of uniting the Canadian Filipino community and representing their interests in the provincial government, Ontario barrister Antonio M. Villarin is seeking nomination as the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s candidate for Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) in the Scarborough Centre.

 “The FilCan community is the biggest ethnic group in Scarborough Centre but is divided and does not have elected representation,” Villarin lamented.

“I humbly present myself as a credible option to represent the Scarborough Centre riding. Let me be your voice,” he urged.

He wants to address urgent issues of his constituents which include restoration of high ethical standards in government; elimination of wasteful spending; lowering the cost of post-secondary education; increasing funding for seniors and affordable housing; making sure Ontarians receive fair wages; creating a more competitive economy, and strengthening the health care system.

Villarin vows to work with Conservative Party Leader Patrick Brown to push these initiatives.

The Ontario barrister and solicitor was a lawyer in the Philippines when he immigrated to Canada in August 2002 with his wife and daughter.

Like most immigrants, Villarin took a variety of temporary jobs, like working in a water bottling production line and driving a forklift, while completing his professional accreditation.

Villarin’s website states that he obtained his Certificate of Accreditation from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in 2003, was called to the Degree of Barrister-at-Law and was admitted to practice at the Bar of Her Majesty's Courts in Ontario in March 2004. He registered for the family and criminal legal aid panels and started accepting legal aid clients that same year.

Villarin provided pro-bono immigration services and assisted temporary workers detained for immigration violations. He likewise served as president of a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)-registered charity that administered programs for seniors. He likewise spoke at seminars for newcomers.

Villarin describes his law practice as "general but focused on the less privileged and marginalized members of the community."

As a community leader and legal advisor, Villarin is also an active member of several professional, civic and not-for-profit organizations serving in these capacities: director of the Asia Pacific Immigration Consultants, Inc.; legal consultant of CK Atlantis; legal counsel of Filipino Canadian Cabletow Club; past president of Filipino Canadian Community House; past Master of Robertson Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; and member of Knights of Rizal.

Villarin graduated with a degree of Juris Doctor from the Ateneo de Manila University and became a member of the Philippine Bar in 1996. He worked as an associate lawyer from 1995 to 2000 with the law offices of Go, Cojuangco, Mendoza, Ligon and Castro as well as with the Pelaez, Gregorio, Sipin, Bala and Robles firm.

In 2001, Villarin also worked as senior tax and legal consultant with the Tax and Legal Advisory Services Department of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Manila.

Mary Ann Mandap

Mary Ann Reyes-Mandap has over three decades of experience in journalism, public relations and corporate communications work, and was a staff member and writer for Mr. & Ms. Magazine, Malaya, and Free Press in the Philippines. While living in San Francisco in 2003-2007, she worked as Associate Editor of Philippine News, the oldest and most widely circulated Filipino newspaper in the United States, and as Editor of the Filipino Insider Magazine. In Vancouver, she is associate editor of Dahong Pilipino and had worked as community news editor of Philippine Canadian Inquirer.

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