Dozens of Filipino Canadians gathered in Alberta to share their concerns to the first Filipina member of the House of Commons.
Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez listened to fellow Filipinos from different cities of Alberta who were eager to meet her in person and help her get down to business in representing them.
During her last stop in Edmonton, Valdez assured the Filipino community that she will be their voice and that she will bring their concerns to Ottawa.
"I just want to say, thank you so much to the Edmonton community for just coming out. You see a crowded room. I heard from so many walks of life, different stories from entrepreneurs, organizations, and individuals sharing stories with me and that’s actually why I came out here [in Edmonton]. My objective was to understand and learn the needs of the Filipino Canadians in this local community so that I can advocate for you in the House of Commons," Valdez said.
Filipino attendees said they are inspired by the work that Valdez is doing for the community.
"I’m so happy to have met with our first Filipino MP. It seems that we are so inspired attending this meeting. It seems that there’s a lot of hope, talking about the different problems, and different issues in Alberta, particularly about immigration," Virginia Sumalinog of the Filipino Canadian National Congress noted.
At the meeting hosted by the Edmonton Philippine International Centre, Filipino Canadians raised their concerns not only on immigration but also on healthcare, community support, and access to federal funding.
Valdez said she is proud to represent the Filipino community in Canada and stressed that her being a Filipino is what made her successful.
"You matter. You are a priority. I just want to impart to all of you what I feel makes me successful, and I’m proud of the success that I've had, is the fact that I truly lean on my Filipino-ness. If you recognize and acknowledge the Filipino-ness within you, that is your superpower," the Mississauga-Streetsville lawmaker said.
Before heading to Alberta, Valdez was in Winnipeg where she attended the dedication of a park in honor of the first ever Filipino Canadian to be elected as a Member of Parliament, Dr. Rey Pagtakhan.
On Twitter, Valdez thanked Pagtakhan for being a trailblazer and for being a big influence to many in Canada, including herself.