12 June 2019, Ottawa – Filipinos and Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, 12 June 2019, to observe Filipino Heritage Month and commemorate the 121st Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at a reception held at the historic Sir John A. Macdonald Building on Wellington St., Ottawa.
The event, organized by the Canada-Philippines Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Philippine Independence Committee of the Ottawa Valley (PICOV), brought together hundreds of guests that included Members of Parliament, Senators, representatives from the business sector, representatives of various Filipino organizations in Ottawa, Kingston, and Montreal, and officers and staff of the Embassy of the Philippines in Canada.
MP Kevin Lamoureaux, Chair of the Friendship Group, and PICOV Chairperson Nora Arriola welcomed guests and served as Masters of Ceremonies. Co-Chairs MP Michael Levitt (Liberal), MP Alice Wong (Conservative), and MP Wayne Stetski (NDP) delivered messages on behalf of their respective caucuses while MP Salama Zahid, author of Motion 155 that paved the way for the recognition of June as Filipino Heritage Month, and Senator Yonah Martin also spoke and extended their greetings to the audience.
Other speakers during the event included Ministers Pablo Rodriguez (Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism) and Ahmad Hussen (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship) and Global Affairs Canada Director General Ian Burchett.
The program was interspersed with cultural performances by members of the Filipino community, including Salinggawi Philippine Arts Organization from Montreal and the Philippine Dance Troupe of Ottawa (PDTO).
Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia thanked the Friendship Group and PICOV for conducting the event. She noted that the Filipino community in Canada now numbers more than 931,000 and continues to grow. She thanked the Members of Parliament for unanimously supporting Motion 155 and honoring the many contributions of Filipinos to Canadian society since the 1930s.
The program concluded with a flag-raising ceremony outside Parliament’s West Block. END.