Jun 14, 2024

For the first time, Burnaby, British Columbia's third largest city, has a councillor of Filipino heritage  -  Maita Santiago, former secretary general of Migrante International.

She won in the October 15 municipal election and  will serve a four-year term from November 2022 to November 2026.

A longtime migrant rights advocate, Santiago served as secretary general of Migrante International from 2002 to 2008. She first came to Canada in 1977 as an immigration consultant and has been serving as constituency assistant to Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Mable Elmore.

She joins  another Filipino serving as councilor in  BC – Edwin Empinado, the first Canadian Filipino to be elected councilor  in  BC. He won as councilor of  Kitimat  in 2011,   went  on to win a second term in 2014 and a third one in the 2018 election.  Kitimat is a town on the northwest  coast of BC.

Another first in municipal elections in Ontario  were  Rowena  Santos and  Lisa Abarquez Bower  who made political history in 2018  with their election as councilors of Brampton and Ajax, respectively.

Also a first in the Yukon was Jocelyn Curteanu, the first Canadian Filipino to win a seat in the city council of  Whitehorse, the Yukon capital, in 2012.  She was reelected in 2015 and won a third term in 2021. 

Another Canadian Filipino  making a difference up north is Rommel Silverio  who became Councilor of  the City of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories , in 2015 and  reelected in October 2018. 

Slowly but surely Canadian Filipinos are getting involved in Canadian  politics. With the Filipino community  rapidly  approaching a million across Canada,  Canadian Filipinos  expect more victories  in future  elections. 

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